EMERSON – The Emerson Board of Education announced Monday night that it was naming the school’s gym the Stan N. Woods gymnasium in honor of the Cavos’ longtime wrestling coach.
“He’s an institution here,” board president Craig Steel said. “Forty-nine going on 50 years, and almost 700 wins. He’s been a coach and a teacher. He’s a part of the fabric here in Emerson and we couldn’t be happier to have his name on our gym.”
Woods, 76, was unaware of the school’s intention when he showed up at the media center for the meeting. He thought he was being honored along with the Eric Ayala Foundation committee, an organization Woods is active in that gives scholarships to Emerson students.
When the proclamation was read about the gymnasium, Woods’ head rocked back in surprise.
“I didn’t know what was going on,” Woods said. “I was just flabbergasted.”
Woods’ family was sitting behind him, partially obscured to keep the secret. The meeting was then paused as Woods posed for pictures.
“I didn’t notice them,” Woods said of his family members. “I saw a couple of them, but I thought I was late, so I just went in and sat down.”
The official unveiling of the name will be at a Cavos wrestling match during the winter. The date and opponent is yet to be determined.
“It’s touching,” said Woods, the New Jersey leader in career wins in the sport.
“It’s nice to be recognized and know that a lot of Emerson kids feel that it’s important to them, so that makes it more important to me. I had no idea. I am just so amazed.”