Lightfoot Starred As Purple Eagle, Blue Devil
BY DAVE SHEA
No athlete better represented the smooth transition which occurred in the school year of 1969-70 in Ogdensburg after St. Mary's Academy closed and its students and student-athletes became part of expanded student body at Ogdensburg Free Academy.
Lightfoot enjoyed three years as a standout three-sport athlete at SMA and concluded one of the best high school athletic careers in the city's history with an accolade-filled senior year at OFA.
In football Lightfoot was a Valley League All-Star as a linebacker and offensive lineman and the MVP of the 1968 SMA football team which went 8-0. He went on to become the MVP of the 1969 OFA team which posted a record of 6-1-1 and earned All Northern League honors and All-State Honorable Mention as a linebacker.
He went on to Southern Connecticut State and played outside linebacker from 1970-1974 and earned First Team honors on the Associated Press All-New England and All Eastern College Teams. In 1978 he signed a professional contract with the Grey Cup Champion Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League.
In basketball, Lightfoot was a starting forward for the 1969 SMA Catholic League Championship Team and delivered a 24-point, 12-rebound effort in the league's playoff championship game. In his one season at OFA he was a Northern League All-Star on the 22-0 OFA Basketball team. Both teams are inducted in the SMA/OFA Hall of Fame.
"Tom Lightfoot was the ultimate team player. In the Catholic League Championship game he had 24 points and 12 rebounds and kept St. Mary's alive," wrote former St. Mary's Coach Joe Heffernan in a letter read at the Hall of Fame Induction by lifelong friend Mike Herzog.
He played three years of varsity baseball at SMA as a catcher and outfielder and won the Highest Batting Average Award in 1969. In his one season at OFA he earned All-Northern Honors an outfielder, won the Highest Batting Average Award and was offered a tryout with the Montreal Expos.
Lightfoot completed his college studies at Clarkson University and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering and worked for 31 years for Alcoa Inc. He retired in December of 2014 as a Senior Environmental Consultant in Pittsburgh, PA.
"I want to thank Tom Brady for submitting my name. I always respected the people and coaches starting with Hal Thrall who coached me in Grasshopper Baseball for Phillips Diner. If I swung and missed he always told me there would be other chances." said Lightfoot at the induction ceremonies.
"Playing sports in Ogdensburg was awesome. We had such great support from the community and my teams deserve all the credit."