Richard ‘Dick” Santoro – Lehigh University – Class of 1959
Dick Santoro graduated from Bethlehem’s Liberty High School, spent several years serving in the Armed Forces and enrolled in Lehigh University in the fall of 1955. He moved into the starting lineup on the wrestling team as a sophomore at 147 pounds and went on to become one of just two Lehigh wrestlers to go undefeated in dual meets during their entire career. He captained the team during his junior and senior seasons.
Santoro’s career record was 48-4-4 - a percentage of .893 that ranks in the top 15 in Lehigh history. As a sophomore in 1957, he finished 2nd in the EIWA tournament, losing to Penn State’s Dave Adams in the finals, 4-3. Santoro won the EIWA tournament as a junior at 147 pounds, downing Cornell’s Dick Vincent, 3-2 to capture his first title. Santoro dropped down to 137 for the NCAA tournament where he made it to the semi-finals before losing to Oklahoma’s eventual champion, Paul Aubrey, 5-3. Santoro came back through the consolations to place 3rd.
In 1959, Santoro led the Engineers to their first EIWA team championship in 10 years. Wrestling in the 137-pound class, he handily won his second conference title by shutting out Rutgers’ Tom Grifa, 5-0 in the finals. Santoro earned the prestigious Fletcher Award for his career accomplishments in the EIWA tournament.
Along with his two sons, Rich (three-time AA) and Pat (four-time AA), the Santoro family garnered eight All-American honors, ranking in the top five in NCAA history for father/son total medals.
After graduation, Santoro spent over 30 years officiating college and high school wrestling matches in the Mid-Atlantic region. He is a member of the EIWA Officials Hall of Fame and in 2013 he was given the ‘Lifetime Service to Wrestling’ award by the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Santoro spent his entire working career in the computer industry and is now retired, living with his wife Mary in the Bethlehem area.