Herkimer Magicians


Francis "Hank" Palczynski began his coaching career at Herkimer Central School in 1954 after graduating from SUNY Brockport. However, his illustrious teaching and coaching career was put on hold for 1 1/2 years when he was drafted into the Army. upon returning to Herkimer, he began at the grass roots level to build a wrestling program. He credits Charles Schalk and Joe Campo with his "inservice education" in wrestling.

"Wrestling became a big part of my life....the discipline, dedication and respect for oneself and others....and the hard work necessary for success", says Hank. His son became a very successful wrestler and Hank credits the sport because "it gave me a foundation for life".

During Herkimer's eighteen year membership in the Iroquois League, Hank served as league representative to Section III for much of that span. Hank worked closely with fellow Section III Wrestling Hall of Fame members Reed Hawke and Art Hirt.

His most cherished memories include the growth of wrestling in Setcion III and the many Hermiker wrestlers who furthered their education and went on to become successful in their personal lives and society. Among those wrestlers include Tom Marriott, Louis Natarelli, Mike Costello, Fracis Palczynski II, Tony Lanza, John Ahern, John Richard, Jim Polus, Ed View, Frank Paoni, and James Ritton.

Herkimer won serveral Intersectional and League Championships during Hank's thirty year reign -- winning 150 dual meets during that period of time. Leigh Frye was Herkimer's first Intersectional competitor in 1964, followed by Louis Natarelli in 1967 who continued on to place fourth in the state meet. Tom Marriott was a state runner-up at 138lbs in 1972.

Hank sums up his love for the sport of wrestling...."I feel very fortunate that somehow my life and career got me involved in wrestling....and at helping young men at a formative time in their lives."

The Section III Wrestling Committee and community congratulate Francis "Hank" Palczynski on a job well done.