John “Jack” Wigley to be Inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame

John "Jack" Wigley
John “Jack” Wigley

Article Contributed by
Todd Peterson

The late John “Jack” Wigley will be inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame at the organization’s 33rd Annual Induction Banquet, Monday, February 17th, at the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club.

For those who knew and loved him, Wigley was that rare, almost-perfect combination — an amazing, talented athlete in high school, an excellent student that became a well-respected teacher and, last but not least, a legendary coach.

He was born in Jamestown in 1934 and was a 1952 graduate of the former Lakewood High School (now Southwestern), where his academic abilities earned him the honor of class salutatorian. He also was an incredible athlete (many say he was the best ever) that was an all-star in five sports —football, basketball, baseball, track and volleyball. In fact, his long-jump record of 22 feet, 2 inches still stands after more than 60 years.

Scouts took note of Wigley’s baseball abilities and following his high school career, he signed a professional contract with New York Giants organization, a decision that made him ineligible for playing at the college level.

He played for the 1953 Maryville-Alcoa Twins of Mountain State League (Class D), the 1954-55 St. Cloud Rox of Northern League (Class C) and the 1955 Sioux City Soos of Western League (Class A).

Wigley also served in the Army for two years, where he also played baseball while stationed at Fort Meyers, Va., and was a graduate of Jamestown Community College and later, earned his mathematics degree at UCLA.

Once out of college, he joined the staff at La Jolla Country Day School in San Diego as a math teacher and for the next 34 years —1962 to 1996 — he not only distinguished himself as a beloved educator, he became a legendary coaching figure, guiding teams in football, baseball, girls and boys basketball, softball, volleyball, tennis, and golf.

His girls’ basketball teams were four-time CIF conference champions while the boys’ team was a two-time conference champion. His softball teams were two-time conference champions and he also picked up a conference championship in tennis. He was named as Coach of the Year several times.
After his long career came to an end in 1996, he was the first coach ever inducted into the LaJolla Country Day School Hall of Fame and in 2001, his first year of eligibility, Wigley was inducted into the San Diego Hall of Champions.

In his spare time, Wigley also served on a number of boards and coached Little League baseball and girls’ softball. He also enjoyed his time on the golf course right up to the end of his life.

Following a battle with cancer, Wigley passed away in 2011 at the age of 76 and is survived by wife of 55 years, Carolyn, his three daughters, Joni, Jodi and Jeri, and his son, Jeff, along with several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Joining Wigley as inductees in the CSHOF’s Class of 2014 are Vincent Calarco, Geza Farkus, Dan Lunetta, Cindy Miller, Al Muck, Tom Prechtl, and Tom Priester.

Sharon Robinson, daughter of baseball legend, Jackie Robinson is the guest speaker.

The banquet will begin with a hospitality session at 5:00 p.m. with dinner to follow at 6:30.

The official ticket distribution sites are Fredonia Food Mart on Temple Street in Fredonia, Calarco’s Restaurant on Market Street in Westfield, plus Jamestown Cycle Shop on Harrison Street and the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame on Third Street, both in Jamestown. Tickets can also be ordered by phoning Chip Johnson at 716-485-6991. The price per ticket is $50. CSHOF members receive a $5 discount.