Tighe Headed To WAHA Hockey Hall of Fame

The Wisconsin High School Hockey
Coaches Association will induct Jerry Tighe of Fond du Lac into its hall of
fame during a ceremony on September 6 in Eagle River.

Jerry Tighe was born
on December 9, 1933 in Leroy, Wisconsin, where he spent his youth, and then
graduated from Mayville High School in 1952.  Although Jerry never played
hockey himself–the ice rink, the love of the game, and all that comes with
it– was his passion.  This devotion led him to the Fond du Lac Blue Line
Hockey Association(BLHA), where he was a coach, leader, long-time member and
diligent volunteer.  He was instrumental in procuring a year round sheet
of ice at the Fond du Lac rink in 1971.  He served the Fond du Lac BLHA on
the board of directors, including the role of board secretary and
president.  He began his coaching with the BLHA youth program in
1972.  Youth coaching titles included state champions for Squirt AA in
1975; state champions for Peewee AA in 1978; state champions for Bantams in
1979 and Mid-America, Park Ridge IL tournament champions in 1980. 


Jerry’s legendary role
as a youth hockey supporter spurred him to help in spearheading the addition of
varsity hockey to the St. Mary’s Springs High School athletic program.  In
1980, the Ledger Hockey team had its inaugural season of 30 games with Jerry as
the head coach. He led the team for 6 seasons and was a vital advocate to
establish the first private high school state tournament in 1981.  Jerry’s
impressive cumulative record as head coach of Ledger Hockey is 145-39-9. 
During his tenure, he led the team to four private high school state
championships and two Mid-West Tournament titles.  Seventeen or more
players that Jerry coached at the Springs went on to play college hockey in the
late 80s and early 90’s at the Wisconsin programs of Madison, Stevens Point, Eau
Claire and St. Norbert’s; along with the out-of-state programs of RPI, Kent
State, Notre Dame, Miami of Ohio, Northern Michigan and Air Force.


Although Jerry retired
after six years as Ledger head hockey coach; his passion for the game has never
left the rink.  He has enthusiastically made himself available over the
years for the Ledgers and the BLHA.  Jerry was called back to coaching in
1988 when Bob Ritzer reached out for his help to coach the Ledger JV
program.  He is an avid supporter of Ledger Hockey to this day and he,
along with his wife Betty, is regularly found at the rink supporting local
hockey programs.


In addition to his
exceptional service to St. Mary’s Springs hockey and BLHA, Jerry was recognized
by the Fond du Lac Chamber of Commerce for his service to the community. 
In 1981, Jerry was the recipient of the St. Mary’s Springs Booster of the Year
Award.  The state hockey community recognized his dedication in 1985 with
the State Hockey Coach of the Year award. 


Before Jerry’s heart
and time were pledged to his love of hockey, he dedicated many years to Fond du
Lac youth baseball, and was inducted into the Fond du Lac Youth Baseball Hall
of Fame for his meritorious service.  He was also inducted into the Rock
River Baseball Hall of Fame for his years dedicated to playing and managing in
that league.  Jerry and Betty raised five sons: Dan, Dave, Don,
Doug(1965-1981) and Dean. They owned and operated Jerry Tighe Roofing in Fond
du Lac, which is now owned by their son, Dean.


The words of one
Ledger grandmother most pointedly describes the spirit of Jerry Tighe: “You’re
one in a million.  I don’t think there is another coach who strives to
develop each player’s skills and gives them the opportunity to strengthen that
talent as an individual and as a team member.  I think the fact that the
Springs hockey team has always had the reputation of depending on all the
talent, the unified team stands as a living tribute to the sense of commitment
that you have instilled. Because of this, our team does not have only one or
two strong players, but a whole bench of them,” said
Mildred Hilbert


The Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame was founded in 1975
and is housed in the Eagle River Sports Arena. The Wisconsin Hockey Hall of
Fame was established to honor outstanding individuals responsible for the
development and success of amateur hockey in Wisconsin.