John C. Leighton Sr.

About This Inductee

John was a standout performer for St. Nicholas High School on the basketball court and baseball diamond. At St. Nicks, he captained the basketball team his senior year. He tied the valley’s scholastic single game performance of 38 points and was the highest scholastic scorer in Wyoming Valley his senior year at 521 points. He was selected on the 1946 All-Star Team, Southern Division, of the Diocesan Catholic High School Basketball Conference. He was elected All-County and his scoring ability netted him a scholarship to the University of Scranton. He also excelled in baseball at St. Nick’s, playing 3rd base. He was approached by a N.Y. Giant’s scout and offered a contract, which he turned down to enroll at Scranton U. At Scranton, he starred as a freshman in basketball and advanced to the varsity team in mid-season. He captained the Scranton Royals his senior year (1947-48) and was named MVP. He held every offensive record and was the first cager to score back to back 300 points in a season. He set a new single season record and career scoring records. He made honorable mention on the All PA Collegiate Team and Who’s Who in Sports. He was a 12-year pro in the American and Eastern Basketball Leagues. In ’50-’51 he played for the Wilkes-Barre Barons, averaging 22 points per game and was named Rookie of the Year. At Williamsport ‘53-‘54 he was scoring champion, one of the top scorers of the Eastern League, scoring 41 points in a single game. He set 5 Eastern Professional Basketball League Presidents Cup records and played against many former NBA players. He coached basketball at St. Leo’s and Sacred Heart High Schools. He was elected to the U. of Scranton Wall of Fame 1980 and received the YMCA Layman of the Year Award in 1972. He was president of St. Therese’s Little League for over 29 years. Married to the former Nancy Dougherty, they had five children: Patricia, John, Thomas, Brian and Patrick. John passed away in August of 1996.