Brandeis Hall of Fame athlete William Orman '57 dies at age 81
By David E. Nathan
Former teammates of William Orman ’57 remembered Brandeis’ first three-sport star athlete as a tough competitor and an inspiring leader.
The longtime educator from Sandwich, Mass., died on May 11. He was 81.
“He was a coach’s dream. He would not quit,” Dick Bergel ’57 said of his former football teammate. “He was as gentle as anyone you would ever meet, but when he put on the uniform, he was a tiger. He was a leader in every sense of the word.”
Orman also played forward for the Brandeis basketball team and was a second baseman on the baseball team. He was inducted into the Joseph M. Linsey Brandeis Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996.
Orman transferred to Brandeis after beginning his collegiate career at Marquette University. He was a favorite of football coach Benny Friedman, who admired his toughness, loyalty and leadership.
Bergel, himself a Brandeis Athletics Hall of Famer, recalled that Orman refused to come out of a game at the University of Toledo despite losing four teeth when he was punched in the mouth on the opening play.
“Bill Orman was a sweet man, and yet was the toughest of competitors,” said former football teammate Mike Uhlberg ’55, another member of the Athletics Hall of Fame. “He would drive your face into the ground, and then help you to your feet with a broad smile on his face.”
Orman was raised by foster parents in New Rochelle, N.Y., according to ex-football teammate Jimmy Stehlin ’57, who attended Orman’s funeral on Cape Cod.
“He was a very team-oriented person and worked very hard,” said Stehlin, another Athletics Hall of Famer. “Sports meant so much to him. He did not have an easy childhood, so the opportunity to come to Brandeis and be a college athlete was very meaningful to him. He was always an upbeat person, despite some of the things he had to overcome.”
Orman anchored the offensive line as the center and also played on the defensive line. The Judges finished with winning records in three of Orman’s four varsity seasons. He captained the team and earned the Varsity Club Trophy as a senior.
As a student, he founded Brandeis’ Newman Club, a Catholic ministry center. After graduation, he served as the president of the Friends of Brandeis Athletics.
Orman served as a teacher and school administrator for more than 40 years in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, retiring as principal of Stoneham Middle School in 1995. He was recognized as one of North America’s Top 100 school executives.
“One of the things that made him such a good principal was that he understood people – students, teachers and colleagues,” Stehlin said. “He was extremely well liked.”
Orman leaves three sons, Ted, Gary and Paul, and 11 grandchildren, Scott, Gavin, Jara, Grayson, Liam, Farrell, Evelyn, Cecilia, Fiona, Bianca and Victoria. He was predeceased by his wife, Barbara Ann (Stokinger).