Wrestling Legend Jumper Leggio Gone at 89

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Wrestling Legend Jumper Leggio Gone at 89

The Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame is mourning the loss of local wrestling legend Jumper Leggio, who died on January 5. He was 89.

A Bay Shore alum and resident, Jumper started wrestling in 1946 when he was in seventh grade, and his impact carried on for decades as an athlete, coach, and community icon. He was inducted into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.

He was an undefeated Eastern Long Island champion and runner-up at the Long Island Championships in 1950 and 1951. After graduating high school, Jumper joined the United States Navy in 1953, where he wrestled until 1957. He won the Interservice Championships four years in a row.

Leggio went on to coach at Bay Shore in 1963. He refereed the Olympic trials in 1964. Shortly after, he started Holy Family High School’s – which would become St. Anthony’s – first wrestling team and won the New York State Catholic Team Championship Title in 1968.

He also coached the United States wrestling team against Poland in 1973, against Bulgaria in 1976, and against Korea in 1980.

In 1987 he was named Mr. Bay Shore and the Grand Master Award by the Suffolk County Wrestling Coaches Association. The Suffolk County Kid Wrestling Tournament was also dedicated and changed to “Jumper Leggio Suffolk County Championships,” as he was known as the Father of Kid wrestling in New York and the East Coast.

Jumper was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and named Bay Shore Alumni Man of the Year in 1997.

His son Guy, the longtime wrestling coach at East Islip and a Bay Shore alumnus, was also inducted into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame 20 years after his father in 2019.

Services for Leggio will be held at Chapey & Sons Funeral Home in East Islip on January 9 from 4-8 p.m. A funeral mass will be held at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Bay Shore on Wednesday, January 10 at 10:15 a.m. He will be laid to rest at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Bay Shore. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Jumper Leggio Scholarship Fund. Checks can be sent to 155 3rd Ave., Bay Shore, NY 11706.