Malaga, Washington: Oct. 16, 1951 - April 30, 2024

Stanley Opp


Stanley Allen Opp, 72, of Malaga, WA, passed away at home on April 30, 2024, surrounded by friends and family.
Stan was born to Eugene and Martha Opp, on Oct. 16, 1951, in Eureka, SD. Along with 11 brothers and sisters, Stan grew up in Aberdeen, SD, where he was a star wrestler at Aberdeen Central HS with a record of 60-5-1.
He earned his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees at South Dakota State University where he wrestled with a record of 94-19-1. In NCAA College Wrestling Championships, he placed second, fifth and second. Stan earned multiple awards including South Dakota Independent Athlete of the Year (1969), National AAU Greco Roman Champion (1970), United States Wrestling Federation National Freestyle Champion (1970), South Dakota Amateur Athletic Union Outstanding Wrestler (1970), Member of USA wrestling teams to Russia, Poland, Yugoslavia, and Romania (1970-76), and Outstanding Athletes of America (1973). Stan was inducted into numerous Hall of Fames including the Hall of Fame at Aberdeen Central High School (Aberdeen, SD 2007), National Wrestling Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement for the State of Washington (2008), Washington State Wrestling Hall of Fame (2010), South Dakota State University Hall of Fame (2011) and Wenatchee High School Hall of Fame (2019).
Stan was equally successful in his career as wrestling coach. As Head Wrestling Coach at Eastern Washington University (1977-82), his teams placed second and third in the NAIA Nationals, and he was named Rookie Coach of the Year in 1978. In 1983, Stan moved to Wenatchee and began his 21-year career as Head Wrestling Coach at Wenatchee High School, where he coached four state champions and 40 State Place Winners. During this time, WHS Wrestling finished second, third, and fourth in State 4A State Wrestling Tournaments with nine-straight years in the top 8. Stan was named “Coach of the Decade” for the 1990s in North Central Washington and “Washington State 4A Coach of the Year” in 1999. He is considered by many to be the godfather of WHS Wrestling. In 2004, he retired from the head coach position but continued to help with the team as assistant coach and volunteer. Stan also coached Boy’s Golf at WHS and was named “Big 9 Coach of the Year” in 2014. By the time he retired from teaching and coaching in 2014, Stan had been a beloved and respected mentor to many students and athletes.
After retirement, Stan enjoyed golfing with friends and helping with WHS wrestling.
During the past two years, he cherished the time he was able to spend with his daughter after she moved back from overseas.
Stan is survived by his daughter, Kari Findley and his brothers and sisters: Donald, Jerald (Joanne), Margie (Denny) Puepke, Joyce (Jerome) Hunstad, Shirley (Howard) Hollimon, Connie Akers, Kermit and Thomas.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Wilbert (Sharon), Elton (Vicki) and Timothy.
A celebration of life will be held at Wenatchee High School gymnasium on May 18 at 1 p.m.