|Organization:||Athletic Administrator, Coach and Professor|
There has perhaps been no one person who has been more instrumental in the development of the athletic department at Kean University than Willard Zweidinger. Beginning in 1935, Zweidinger started out as a part-time instructor earning a yearly salary of $1,100 and served the school as it underwent four name changes, four nicknames and two different locations. By the time he retired in 1976, the home field of the Kean football team bore his name, a tribute to his many contributions to the athletic department and development of facilities on both the Newark and Union campuses.
Throughout that time, Zweidinger held an array of positions, including professor of physical education, physical education department chair, director of athletics, coach and associate dean.
Zweidinger's efforts were conducive to developing the basketball program and starting the baseball team. He was also responsible for developing women's athletic competition at the school, founding many of their programs, such as women's basketball.
Zweidinger coached the men's basketball team from 1937 through 1941, as well as gymnastics and tennis. He was the coach of the first Newark State College (now Kean University) gymnast to place at the Eastern Intercollegiates, as well as many Hall of Famers, including George Bizlewicz, Abner Benisch, Arthur Wenzel, Vincent Sarnowski and Robert Salkin.
If one singular act defined Zweidinger's selflessness, it was his request that the football field be renamed following its renovation in 1998. Feeling that the structure stood not for one man but for all Kean students, past and present, he asked that the new Zweidinger Field be christened Kean Alumni Stadium.