George Wigton — a noted multi-sport coach at the University of Connecticut and Bates College, who got his start at Staples High School — died last week. He was 93 years old.
The Oberlin, Ohio native married his high school sweetheart, Eleanor Mahan. He served 4 years in the Navy, then attended Ohio State University where he played basketball and ran teams. He graduated in 1956.
Wigton coached basketball at Staples High School in the early 1960s, then headed to UConn were he coached basketball, track and football.
From 1965 to 1996, he was an integral part of the Bates athletic department. He was the longest-serving basketball (20 years) and tennis (31 years) coach in the school’s history. He also coached men’s soccer, and men’s and women’s squash. He was assistant director of athletics from 1974 to ’84.
Wigton was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame and the National Intercollegiate Squash Racquets Association Hall of Fame.
He is survived by Eleanor, his wife of 70 years; daughters Christy (Ray) and Sue (Ken); sons Jeff (Michele) and Andy (Christine); 11 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his brothers Charles and William.
A celebration of life will be held in June. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a gift in George’s memory to the Androscoggin Hospice House, 15 Strawberry Avenue, Lewiston, Maine, 04240, or the Maine Veterans’ Home South Paris Activity Fund, 477 High Street, South Paris, Maine, 04281. Memories may be shared at www.wilesrc.com.
Hi, Dan. I’d been in email communication with Coach Wigton off and on for years. What a great guy. He actually came to Staples for the ’64-’65 school year following his dismissal as head coach of the UConn basketball team that a year earlier he had guided to the then-24-team NCAA basketball tournament after filling in as head coach subsequent to the death of Hugh Greer. He moved on to Bates after his one year with us. At Staples, where he was asst football coach under Paul Lane and head basketball coach. Coach Wigton was a godsend to the football or basketball athletes who had the privilege of playing for him and was universally loved by all, including me. He was the best coach I ever had.
Tom Allen, Staples football 1963-65..
I’m dusting off old memory banks, but believe I first encountered Coach Wigton at YMCA Camp Hazen. Estimating 1961?. Was very pleasantly surprised when he came to Staples where he enthusiastically encouraged me to be involved with track & field. Great guy, nothing but positive memories.