Ken “Stats” Wunderley has always immersed himself in his work. He has covered WPIAL athletics in some capacity for the last 35 years, mostly known for his work in wrestling, but his latest project might be his greatest yet.
“You have to be dedicated and little bit crazy to do something like this,” Wunderley said. “I’ve spent the last two years piecing things together to make sure I have what I needed. I’ve put a lot of time into this and it’s something I’m very proud of.”
Wunderley recently published a WPIAL and PIAA statistical history website, covering sports such as football, basketball, tennis and gymnastics as early as 1914. The site contains listed WPIAL champions in each sport, WPIAL and PIAA postseason brackets dating back to 1973, archived notes about each sport and linked Pittsburgh Post-Gazette articles and team information since 2003.
“I always enjoyed statistics and I realized there wasn’t much available,” said Wunderley. “I took it upon myself to collect as much as I could. There are about 8,500 files on the website with 3,000 to 4,000 of those being printable postseason brackets.”
Wunderley believes in equal coverage for all athletes and anticipates that the site can assist in achieving the idea.
“Just because you’re a football player, it does not mean you deserve more recognition than a swimmer,” Wunderley said. “They all put in a ton of time and they all deserve some publicity.”
Wunderley is no novice in website creation, especially for a sole purpose to display important WPIAL information. After learning website creation and HTML coding from friend and wrestling journalist Bruce Closson, Wunderley was tasked with creating a website for the WPIAL in 1999.
“At that time, hardly anyone had a webpage,” said Wunderley. “The PIAA had just created a site and we decided to follow suit.”
Wunderley published the site in January 2000 and was the webmaster for five years, in addition to his continuing freelance sports writing. Wunderley also coordinated the site “Sports Town” for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for six years. The site featured various articles covering most WPIAL schools and all sports offered in the league. The page ceased operations in October 2017 after complications with funding and sponsorships.
In addition to his research and findings, Wunderley has found others that have brought forth pertinent information to his project. WPIAL Gymnastics Chairman Amy Caprino provided Wunderley with over 30 years of organized results, while WPIAL Swimming Chairman Jamie Morton supplied the top times recorded over the last 30 years. Wunderley also obtained PIAA cross country and track & field records dating back to 1925, but the information requires some additional work before it can be posted.
“The information I was sent is not organized well and cannot be easily read,” Wunderley said. “I have to translate the information to where it can be readable.”
Wunderley has a section under the “Welcome Page” on the site thanking those individuals who provided guidance and information to him. He explained that he “is always finding information from others.”
Wunderley is currently searching for a sponsor for the site, stating that he has his own funds tied up in the project. While it is a unique project, he observed that the exclusivity of the site may deter outside assistance.
“No one knows what the site is to a certain degree,” said Wunderley. “Trying to get people to invest in something that has never been done before can be challenging. I wanted to put the site up to show what I can do and gauge some interest.”
Wunderley’s enthusiasm and passion for the WPIAL is apparent and he has one main thought about his newest project that strengthens this idea.
“You can’t find information like this about the WPIAL and PIAA anywhere,” Wunderley said. “No one has a love for this like I do. If I don’t do this, no one will.”
Wunderley’s statistical history can be viewed at wpialarchive.com.