Dolph Stanley (January 23, 1905 – July 9, 1990) was an American basketball player and coach. Nicknamed the ”Silver Fox”, Stanley is best known for holding the "unbreakable" record of guiding five different Illinois High School Association (IHSA) schools into the state tournament. He gained national prominence by coaching Beloit College to a 238–57 basketball record from 1945 to 1957 while guiding them to an NIT berth and a final AP Rank of No. 16 in 1951. Collectively, Stanley coached six high school teams as well as Beloit College, compiling 943 total victories (705 high school, 238 college). He finished his career in 1989 at Keith Country Day School in Rockford.
Stanley was born in Marion, Illinois, becoming a three-year letterman in basketball while attending Marion High School. Following high school, he attended Southern Illinois University and the University of Illinois. In 1930 Stanley became the head coach of Equality High School in Equality, Illinois. In just two years of coaching, he took the Cardinals to a third-place finish in 1934. Stanley left Equality after winning 94% of his games, finishing with a record of 36 wins and only 2 losses.
Stanley next took the reign of Mt. Pulaski High School and led them to a fourth-place finish in 1936. In his three years of coaching the Hilltoppers, Stanley coached teams produced 70 wins with only 18 losses. During his time at Mt. Pulaski, he married Laura Jane Dial on August 26, 1934 in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.
In 1938, he became the head coach of Taylorville High School. During his seven years at the helm, the Tornadoes won four regional titles, two sectional titles and, in 1944, Stanley directed them to a perfect 45–0 record. This was Stanley's only state championship team and the first undefeated titlist in Illinois history. That team included future Hall of Fame coach, Johnny Orr and 1952 Olympic gold medalist, Ron Bontemps. His final record at Taylorville was an astounding 196–42.
The success Stanley had demonstrated caught the interest of Beloit College, where he became coach and athletic director in 1945. During his twelve years at Beloit, Stanley's teams won six consecutive Midwest Conference titles from 1946 to 1951. In 1957, he finished his career at Beloit with an overall record of 238 wins with only 57 losses.
The 1950–51 season provided some of the most memorable games in Midwest Conference history. The two most prominent events occurred when the Stanley’s Buccaneers devastated Cornell (Iowa) 141–53 to establish a Beloit College Field House scoring record, and crushed Ray Meyer's DePaul team 94–60 to break the Chicago Stadium scoring record.
Stanley was very familiar with several starters on his Beloit teams. Examples include, Ron Bontemps, (class of '51), who went on to captain the 1952 Gold Medal Olympic team; Johnny Orr, (class of '49), who later coached at the University of Michigan and Iowa State; and John Erickson, (class of '49), who was the head coach at the University of Wisconsin, director of basketball operations for the Big 8 Conference, and served as the general manager for the Milwaukee Bucks.
After leaving Beloit, Stanley became the athletic director at Drake University. That career was short-lived, as Stanley's desire to coach brought him back to the high school ranks of Illinois. Stanley became the head coach of Rockford Auburn High School in 1960. His tenure at Auburn was so well received that the gymnasium at the school was named the Dolph Stanley Gymnasium. For 10 seasons Stanley coached the Knights to four regional and three sectional titles, advancing to the state quarterfinals in 1963. Though his teams didn’t make the finals of the IHSA tournament, Stanley's Auburn teams produced 176 wins to 78 losses.
In 1970, at the age of 65, Stanley retired from the public school setting and focused his coaching in the arena of private school, taking the reign at Boylan Catholic High School, also in Rockford. During his first year at Boylan, Stanley led the Titans to a state quarterfinal appearance. He remained at Boylan until 1980, winning an additional regional title in 1977 while totaling 137 wins. At Boylan, met his most difficulties, losing 130 games – nearly half of his high school total. Stanley finished his career at Rockford’s Keith Country Day School. During his time at Keith, Stanley compiled a record of 90 wins and 43 losses. He retired in 1989.
Stanley died Monday July 9, 1990 at St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford.
Of the six Illinois high school teams that Stanley coached, five qualified for the Illinois High School Association state quarterfinals. His 1944 Taylorville team won the state championship with a 45–0 record and featured Olympian Ron Bontemps and former Iowa State University coach Johnny Orr. It was the first undefeated champion in the state's history.
In 1977, he received the honor of being named the NIC-10 Coach of the Year.
Stanley was inducted into the Beloit College Athletic Hall of Honor in 1971.
In 2007, the Illinois High School Association named Stanley one of the 100 Legends of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament.
Stanley was also inducted into the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame posthumously in October 2009.
Head coaching record
|Equality HS||1930-34||36-2||3rd Place|
|Mt. Pulaski HS||1934-35||20-7||District Champions|
|Mt. Pulaski HS||1935-36||26-7||4th Place|
|Mt. Pulaski HS||1936-37||24-4||Regional Champions|
|Mt. Pulaski HS||1934-37||70-18|
|Taylorville HS||1939-40||21-11||State Quarterfinals|
|Taylorville HS||1941-42||28-5||Regional Champions|
|Taylorville HS||1942-43||28-3||Regional Champions|
|Taylorville HS||1943-44||45-0||State Champions|
|Taylorville HS||1944-45||29-5||Regional Champions|
|Beloit College||1945-46||15-6||Conference Champions|
|Beloit College||1946-47||22-5||Conference Champions|
|Beloit College||1947-48||24-3||Conference Champions|
|Beloit College||1948-49||29-4||Conference Champions|
|Beloit College||1949-50||25-3||Conference Champions|
|Beloit College||1950-51||24-3||Conference Champions |
Final AP Rank 16
|Rockford Auburn HS||1960-61||10-14|
|Rockford Auburn HS||1961-62||13-13||Sectional Champions|
|Rockford Auburn HS||1962-63||28-3||State Quarterfinal|
|Rockford Auburn HS||1963-64||20-6||Sectional Champions|
|Rockford Auburn HS||1964-65||16-7|
|Rockford Auburn HS||1965-66||21-5|
|Rockford Auburn HS||1966-67||13-9|
|Rockford Auburn HS||1967-68||18-9||Sectional Champions|
|Rockford Auburn HS||1968-69||15-8|
|Rockford Auburn HS||1969-70||22-4||Regional Champions|
|Rockford Auburn HS||1960-70||176-78|
|Rockford Boylan HS||1970-71||23-9||State Quarterfinals|
|Rockford Boylan HS||1971-72||19-7|
|Rockford Boylan HS||1972-73||7-18|
|Rockford Boylan HS||1973-74||12-13|
|Rockford Boylan HS||1974-75||18-9|
|Rockford Boylan HS||1975-76||15-12|
|Rockford Boylan HS||1976-77||17-11||Regional Champions|
|Rockford Boylan HS||1977-78||15-11|
|Rockford Boylan HS||1978-79||7-20|
|Rockford Boylan HS||1979-80||4-20|
|Rockford Boylan HS||1970-80||137-130|
|Rockford Keith HS||1984-89||90-43|
|Rockford Keith HS||1984-89||90-43|