Warhawk Almanac: Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee, Derek Stanley

Stanley, head shot
Gregg Theune, “Derek Stanley”, U,W-Whitewater Archves.

This past weekend, the Athletic Hall of Fame at UW-Whitewater inducted ten new members who have all played an integral role in developing Warhawk Athletics into its current force. Among those new inductees was Derek Stanley, a two-sport star for the football team from 2003 to 2007 and the track and field teams from 2004 until 2008.

Stanley, a Verona, Wisconsin native, played running back in high school but started his Warhawk career as a defensive back and kick returner, for which he achieved All-American honors as a freshman.[1] In addition to Stanley’s early success on the football field, he would also achieve two first-team All-American awards in track and field in the long jump and triple jump.[2] Stanley proved himself a superior track athlete and considered leaving UW-Whitewater to play track at Division I, UW-Madison. Stanley ultimately chose to stay at Whitewater, and his commitment to the Warhawks paid off.[3]

Derek Stanley, running away from defenders
The Royal Purple, March 8, 2006, 13. https://www.jstor.org/stable/community.34565688

Stanley built his legacy as a wide receiver for the Warhawks. During his career at UW, Stanley is currently third all-time in receiving yards with 2,621 yards, second all-time in receiving touchdowns with 35, and fifth in yards per catch with an average of 20.16 yards per catch.[4]  He was known for his speed, athleticism, and versatility.[5] After Stanley’s stellar performance in the NCAA Division III National Championship, where he received seven passes for 99 yards, he received much attention from the National Football League (NFL) scouts.[6] Stanley eventually met with a representative from every NFL team. The St. Louis Rams drafted Stanley with the 249th pick in the 2007 National Football League Draft.[7] This achievement would make him the first Warhawk drafted into the NFL.

Derek Stanley shoving away a defender
The Royal Purple, March 14, 2007, 22. https://www.jstor.org/stable/community.34565721

However, Stanley’s elevation into the NFL did not end his career as a Warhawk. After being drafted, Stanley returned to UW-Whitewater to finish his education and participate in track for his last year of eligibility.[8] The NFL encouraged him to complete his degree and did not have any issues with him continuing his track career because it helped him keep in shape for football.[9] Stanley finalized his Warhawk athletic career with a second-place finish in the conference long-jump competition.

Stanley graduated from UW-Whitewater in 2018 with a degree in physical education. Although Stanley’s time at UW-Whitewater has ended, the memory of his athletic prowess at UW-Whitewater will live on for generations to come.

Derek Stanley soaring through air at a long jump event
The Royal Purple, March 3, 2004, 16. https://www.jstor.org/stable/community.34565628