Ed Hanley

When Ed Hanley first met a wrestling mat, he was just shy of 14 years old and already owner of an undistinguished athletic career, including a single season of Little League, two years of primary school basketball, and a couple of weeks of high school football. In 1967, Ed started wrestling at Mendel Catholic High School, which was renowned for it’s wrestling team.  Two years later, as a junior, Ed placed second in the league and he went on to win a Chicago Catholic League championship in his senior year.  He was introduced to freestyle wrestling at the Mayor Daley Wrestling Club which trained in a large Quonset hut on Navy Pier, long before Chicago politics destroyed the building and Navy Pier became the glitzy tourist trap it remains today. 

It had been assumed from early primary school Ed would attend MIT which he did, after ascertaining that they had a wrestling team. His career began with an unremarkable record at 126 pounds, culminating in a failure to place at the NEIWOA championship his freshman year. He then managed to discover Jim Peckham and the Boston YMCU, which is where Ed was to be found pretty much every Wednesday night for the next couple of decades whenever time permitted.  Ed also competed at most of the local tournaments sponsored by the AAU.  Between his training at the YMCU and the guidance of MIT coaches Will Chassey and Fred Lett, Ed flourished.  During his sophomore year, he competed in the Midlands tournament, placed fourth in the NEIWOA at 118 pounds, and entered his first College Division National Championship. Ed moved up a weight class to 126 pounds during his junior year.  At the NEIWOA tournament that winter, Ed came back to place third after losing in the opening round. In his senior year at MIT, Ed was an undefeated NEIWOA champion at 126, and lost in the semifinals of the NCAA Division III Championships, eventually placing sixth.

After graduation, Ed took a job with an instrumentation manufacturer in Cambridge, which allowed him to continue training and coaching informally at MIT. That year, he also started refereeing freestyle, while still competing in local AAU tournaments.  Ed won the New York Athletic Club spring freestyle tournament in 1975.

In the fall of 1977, Ed accepted a position with a German company that required him to move to Karlsruhe, Germany.  Looking for a place to continue training, he found the local wrestling club, ASV Daxlanden. Ed showed up for training one evening and he was immediately accepted. They helped him find an apartment and encouraged his integration into the community.  What could have been a very isolated experience became a great social opportunity and expanded his circle of friends.  Although he came to ASV Daxlanden at 62 kg, Ed competed for the club in both freestyle and Greco-Roman at 68 and 74 kg.

Upon his return to the United States in early 1979, Ed continued his Greco education under Jim Peckham. In 1980, Tim Walsh became the head coach at MIT and he initiated training trips with groups of collegiate teams to a variety of countries such as Russia, Mexico, and Japan. Ed accompanied the teams in his dual capacity as an assistant coach and referee.

In 1989, when the US Wrestling Federation was looking for leadership, Ed became the Greco-Roman coach for Massachusetts, which he continued to do until 2001.  In 1989, Neal Dorow introduced Ed to the international referee system and became his mentor for officiating international wrestling. At that point, Ed officially joined the USWOA and, in 1991, was accepted as a member of FILA (the international referee organization). In 1995 he became a category 1 FILA official. Throughout that period, Ed officiated at local, regional and national USA Wrestling tournaments and FILA international tournaments. His international commitments included the Yasar Dogu in Ankara (Turkey), the German Grand Prix in Leipzig (Germany), the Macedonian Pearl, the Shaheed Bagat Singh tournament in Jalandahar (India), and the Trophe Adriatique (Croatia).  Apparently not having enough to do, he also joined the MIWOA and the NEIWOA.

Ed was president of the MIWOA from 2002-2004. At the end of that period, his company was acquired by a multi-national that had him spend most of his time for the next several years in Melbourne, Australia. While there, he officiated at the Australian National and the Oceania Continental Championships.

Ed returned to the US early 2009, and was inducted into the New England Wrestling Association Hall of Fame as a wrestler in 2012. He continued with the full refereeing schedule until he reached the FILA mandatory retirement age of 60. He retired from the NEIWOA in spring 2019. Most recently, Ed was honored with a Lifetime Achievement at the Fargo National Tournament. He continues refereeing with the USWOA and MIWOA and hopes to continue contributing to the Massachusetts Junior Greco-Roman team (although his contributions were limited by a hip replacement in May 2019 and will probably be even more restricted by a shoulder replacement in December 2019). Just wait 'til next year!


Lifetime Service to Wrestling

All American Awards:

Division III

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