Ed Rooney
Champion Wrestler

Mepham Class of 1951


Edwin "Ed" Rooney (class of 1951) was one of Mepham's star wrestlers during the outstanding years under Coach Sprig Gardner. While at Mepham the team lost no meets or tournaments.

While at Mepham he was the Junior Metropolitan Amateur Athletic League champion in 1950, South Shore Athletic League sectional champion in 1951, and New York State Amateur Athletic League champion in 1951. He got the attention of Syracuse Coach Joe McDaniel by defeating 37 year old Murray Edelman for the state AAU crown and was subsequently awarded a scholarship to Syracuse University.

At Syracuse Ed battled his way into the starting Lineup as a freshman defeating several seniors for the 147 lb. spot. He gained early fame by defeating Penn State's Donald Frey, the defending National Collegiate Athletic Association runnerup, in a duel match. He defeated Frey again in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association championships before losing in the Finals to 3 time champ Frank Bettucci.

Three weeks later he avenged that loss with a 54 second fall to take 2nd in the National Amateur Athletic Union Championships. He placed 3rd in the EIWA's as a sophomore and was champion his junior and senior years winning the Outstanding Wrestler award in 1954. He was also a 3 time Wilkes Open finalist, winning the title and Outstanding wrestler award in 1954 pinning the 167 lb. NCAA Champ Joe Solomon in the finals.

Although troubled by injuries throughout his college career, Ed still managed to turn in great performances at the NCAA Championships. He lost in the quarterfinals his sophomore year, took 2nd as a junior, and 4th as a senior. He also set a NCAA record for the fastest fall by pinning John McMahon of Michigan in 31 seconds in 1954. That same year he traveled out to San Diego and placed 2nd in the National AAU's getting the trophy for most falls in least time.

A two-time All-American, Rooney placed second and fourth in the NCAA Championship and won two EIWA titles, in addition to recording second and third place finishes at the EIWA. In four EIWA tournaments his two losses were to Olympian Frank Bettucci and to Donald Rumsfeld. His freshman bout with Bettucci made the Top 10 list of EIWA bouts at the 100th anniversary gala. In 1954 Rooney and his Syracuse coach, Joe McDaniel, drove to Nationals in Oklahoma, where Rooney placed second and earned 10th place for his team. They drove on to the AAUs in San Diego, where he placed second and scored the most falls. That year Rooney was the Outstanding Wrestler at the Wilkes and EIWA tournaments.

Rooney became a Navy carrier pilot aviator on Airborne Early Warning flights before returning to Syracuse to coach and earn his teaching degree. His freshman teams formed the nucleus of the 1963 Syracuse EIWA team champion which placed fourth at NCAA Championship. After earning his teaching degree, he moved to Long Island to become a teacher, coach, and life guard. Rooney is survived by his widow, Nora, and their four children and eight grandchildren. His son, James, lettered in wrestling at Syracuse in 1983.

Ed Rooney was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2000. He was inducted into the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Hall of Fame on March 5, 2006.

Edwin Rooney was born on 08/22/1933 and died on 07/05/1997 at the age of 63. He is buried in the Calverton National Cemetery, Calverton, NY.