Jumper Leggio presenting the Bill Knapp County Championship Trophy to Huntington coach Lou Ginai.
Jumper Leggio presenting the Bill Knapp County Championship Trophy to Huntington coach Lou Ginai.

Touching Tribute by Principal to Visiting Competitors

January 19, 2024

Principal Brenden Cusack offered a touching tribute prior to a recent wrestling meet between Huntington High School and Bay Shore in Louis D. Giani Gym. The longtime administrator recognized the recent passing of legendary Marauders’ coach Jumper Leggio.

“I’d like to just take a moment to acknowledge the loss that the Bay Shore community, and in particular the wrestling community as a whole, experienced last week with the passing of the legendary Jumper Leggio,” Mr. Cusack said late last week. “Many of you may know that at the conclusion of his very successful wrestling career on the world stage, Jumper went on to serve the Bay Shore community as he co-founded Bay Shore Kid Wrestling and other youth programs along with his counterpart Bill Knapp. The central philosophy of these programs was ‘fun and fundamentals,’ which provided kids with an amazing foundation to learn this sport and to find joy in it.”

Mr. Leggio and iconic National Wrestling Hall of Fame Huntington coach Lou Giani were best friends for more than 60 years. The Blue Devils and Bay Shore have always had a special relationship because of the two coaches.

With microphone in hand, Mr. Cusack addressed both teams and the crowd. “My own two children experienced the privilege of having Jumper as one of their very first wrestling coaches and from the moment they met him, he took an interest and never missed an opportunity to help them with a move, to push them just a little harder or to tell them an intricate story from his past,” he said. “My kids, even though they were only in kindergarten at the time, knew they were in the presence of greatness and that they were lucky to be taught by a legend.”

Mr. Leggio passed away at 89 following a wonderful life in which he was regularly surrounded by family and friends in and around Bay Shore. The Long Island wrestling community will always remember him for his graciousness.

“I have a great deal of gratitude for the way Jumper Leggio helped my children and motivated them and I know there are literally thousands of people who would say that this great man has had a positive impact upon their lives,” Mr. Cusack said. “Huntington has shared what I would call a “friendly rivalry” in wrestling for decades and it is in this spirit I ask that we come together in a moment of silence for the late, great, Jumper Leggio.”