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Thaddeus Wilson Thaddeus Wilson
Inducted: 2005 - Graduated: 1969

When ThadWilson graduated fromNanuet High School in 1969

he had earned a total of eight varsity letters: three in football, one

in winter track, and four in spring track & field. During his four

years on the spring track team, the team compiled a dual-meet

record of 44 wins, 10 losses and 1 tie. Included during this period

were two undefeated dual-meet seasons and two county

championships. Thad was the dominant hurdler in Rockland

County high school track & field for the 1968 and 1969 seasons.

“Running hurdles was not my first choice of things that I wanted

todointrack&field,”Thadsays. “WhenI leftHighviewElementary

School for seventh grade I thought I could be a high jumper and

a sprinter. Coach Dave Hanson had other plans for me. On the

bus to a junior-high meet with Kakiat Junior High School in

Spring Valley, he asked me if I wanted to run the 80-yard hurdles

that day. I won the race and hurdles became my primary event.”

Thad was selected to the All-County team in the180-yard low

hurdles for three consecutive years and in the 120-yard high hurdles

for two successive years.For three years he did not lose anRCPSAL

dual meet 180-yard hurdle race. He finished second in that event

in his sophomore year and was county champion his junior and

senior year.

“The 120-yard high hurdle race was not a standard event in the

RCPSAL until my sophomore year,” Thad recalls. “I wasn’t too good at it, but neither was anybody else in the county. We were

all learning how to run the race. I remember that my stride

between hurdles was too short and I had to take four steps

instead of three between hurdles. Much of my success in the high

hurdles can be credited to the winter track program at Nanuet

started by Coach Hanson. I was able to work on form and technique

during the winter in preparation for the spring season.”

The work done during the winter paid off in the spring. At the

county meet his junior year, Thad won both hurdle races and set

a county record in the 120-yard high hurdles. In his senior year,

he broke the record in both the high and low hurdles by six-tenths

of a second – a significant margin in a sprint race. He also was

the first person to break the 15-second barrier in the 120-yard

high hurdles in the Rockland PSAL.

During his four years of varsity track competition, Thad won six

county championships, three Section 9 Class B titles and three

Section 9 (state qualifier) championship titles. He was selected

first-teamAll-County for the 120-yard high hurdles, 180-yard low

hurdles and 880-yard relay two consecutive years. During his

senior year Thad finished first in each individual event he competed

in during dual meets: 12 in the high hurdles, 10 in the low

hurdles and two in the triple jump. He was Nanuet’s high point

scorer for two consecutive years and held the record for most

points scored in a career when he graduated. He was also selected team Most Valuable Player for the 1968 and 1969 seasons.

When he left Nanuet in 1969, Thad held the following Nanuet

High School track & field records:

• 60-yard high hurdles, 7.9 seconds (Indoor)

• 120-yard high hurdles, 14.9 seconds

• 180-yard low hurdles, 19.4 seconds

• 440-yard relay, 45.1 seconds (ThadWilson ’69,

Frank Bria ’70, Ed Stagl ’70, Ricky Robinson ’71)

• 880-yard relay, 1:31.1 (ThadWilson ’69, John Poletto ’71,

Frank Bria ’70, Fred Hodges ’70)

• Most points (season), 166

• Most points (career), 469

• Most track varsity letters, 4 (tied with Ed Faust ’67)

He held the following Rockland PSAL track & field records:

• 120-yard high hurdles, 14.9 seconds

• 180-yard low hurdles, 19.4 seconds

• 880-yard relay, 1:31.1 (Wilson ’69, Poletto ’71,Bria ’70,Hodges ’70)

He held the following NYSPHSAA Section 9 track & field

record at graduation:

• 180-yard low hurdles, 19.7 seconds (shared with D. Mathews,

Highland Falls)

Thad was also a member of the Nanuet varsity football team for

three years. He earned a starting position on the varsity as a

sophomore and started all remaining games for the rest of his

high school career.He earned a position on theAll-County football

team his senior year. “We were not a very good football team,”

Thad says. “We did not have enough overall talent to compete

with the other schools in the county but we worked our butts off

trying to keep up.” Thad was a starting defensive back but did

play offense as needed.As a senior he was elected co-captain and

received a Certificate of Award for Outstanding Defensive

Performance against Suffern duringWRKL’s game of the week.

After graduation from high school in 1969, Thad attended

LebanonValleyCollege inAnneville,Pa.Hewas a reserve

defensive back on their football team. He left school and

enlisted in the U.S. Navy in March of 1970. Thad

remained on active duty until November 1996, when he

retired as a Master Chief Petty Officer, the highest

enlisted rank. During his almost 27 years of service he

was assigned to nine different shore commands and five shipboard

commands.While assigned to the sea commands hemade

four Western Pacific deployments (including Vietnam), two

Mediterranean deployments and one North Atlantic deployment.

He has visited six continents andmore than 20 countries.

During hismilitary career he earned the following awards: the

Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy Commendation

Medals, two Navy AchievementMedals, the Combat Action

Ribbon, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, three Meritorious

Unit CommendationRibbons, threeNavy “E”Ribbons, six

Good Conduct Medals, two National Defense Service

Medals, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Vietnam

ServiceMedal, six Sea ServiceDeploymentRibbons, theRepublic

of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and designation as an Enlisted

SurfaceWarfare Specialist.

Thad currently lives in Oxnard, Calif., works as an engineer for

AdvantEdge Technology, Inc. and supports PortHueneme (Calif.)

Division Naval SurfaceWarfare Center. He and his wife, Patricia

(Smith), a native of Spring Valley, have two children, Anne M.

Tilghman and Thaddeus B. Wilson Jr., and five grandchildren,

Tori, Kendall, Trinity, Imani and Thaddeus III. Thad and Pat are

remarried after a previous separation and divorce.

Thad has been an assistant track&field coach for St. Bonaventure

High School inVentura,Calif., since 2002 and an assistantwith the

cross country program this fall. Thad renewed his interest in track

& field in 2002 and began competing in masters track & field, for

athletes age 40 or older.

“When I started coaching, I was showing the kids some hurdle

drills and realized that I still had the muscle memory to run hurdles,”

Thad says. “I was in fairly good shape because I stayed in

shape during my time in the Navy. I started doing track workouts

after the high school teamhad finished their workout.”

He has won the USATF masters track & field national championship

for his age group (50-54) in the 100-meter high hurdles,

2002; 60-meter high hurdles, 2004; indoor long jump, 2004, 2005;

and outdoor long jump, 2005. He also won a silver medal in the

100-meter high hurdles at the 2005 World Masters Athletics

Championships in San Sebastian, Spain.