First Mindszenty coach dies at 90

Stanley Zajdel

The first varsity football and basketball coach at the former Cardinal Mindszenty High School in Dunkirk has died at the age of 90.

Stanley Zajdel of St. James, N.Y., was coach of Mindszenty for two seasons from 1952 to 1954. He died on Sept. 22, 2017.

Cardinal Mindsenty closed in 1979.

Zajdel was a World War II Naval veteran who graduated from Braddock High School in Pennsylvania and played running back on the St. Bonaventure University football team in the late 1940s. Zajdel played under Coach Hugh DeVoe, who played under the legendary Knute Rockne. Ted Marchibroda, former Buffalo Bills’ offensive coordinator, was Zajdel’s quarterback at St. Bonaventure.

Zajdel came to Mindszenty with his successor, Coach Mike Orbinati, who was an offensive guard and linebacker at St. Bonaventure.

After leaving Mindszenty, he was head football coach at Aquinas High School in Rochester and went on to be the freshman coach at Dayton University for three seasons. In 1959, he was appointed the head coach at Dayton from 1960 to 1962. He later became an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh University Panthers, Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy and C.W. Post College.

He retired as a physical education teacher at Commack South High School in Long Island. He was predeceased by his wifek Audrey. The couple had eight children and several grandchildren.