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About John T. Flaherty

4/5/1917-6/20/1978
Induction Class of 2017

John T. Flaherty graduated from St. Mary's High School in Clarksburg, W. Va., in 1937. He worked while attending high school to help support his family after his father lost a leg in a mining accident, and he also coached junior high basketball while playing for the varsity team. Mr. Flaherty went on to serve as a tank driver in the United States Army during World War II, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge among many other operations in the European Theater. Through the GI Bill, he earned a Bachelor of Science in physical education from Salem College in Salem, W. Va., in 1949. He then returned to St. Mary's to teach and coach.

In 1957, Mr. Flaherty and his family moved to Adams County when he accepted a position as a teacher and coach at Delone Catholic High School. Eventually, his nine children would attend the school. During his tenure at Delone Catholic, he also served as the Director of Discipline/Dean of Students. He made his mark on Squire athletics in various capacities. He was either an assistant coach or head coach for the football, boys' basketball and baseball teams at various times throughout his career, often coaching all three sports concurrently in addition to his duties as Athletic Director.

Mr. Flaherty was an assistant coach for the football team for 20 years in addition to serving as the head coach in 1964. His 5-4-1 team fought to a 7-7 tie with crosstown rival Hanover in the final game of the season, putting the only blemish on the Nighthawks' otherwise perfect 10-0-1 record. He was the head coach of the boys' basketball program from 1957-58 through 1965-66, compiling a record of 92-105, making him the winningest coach in the program’s history to that point. The high point of his tenure was winning the program’s second Central Pennsylvania Catholic League championship in a 65-64, four-overtime thriller against Bishop McDevitt in 1965. Mr. Flaherty also led the baseball program from 1958-1961 and again from 1964-1970, posting a record of 75-46-1, which was also the most wins by a Delone Catholic baseball coach at the time.

Following his sudden passing on June 20, 1978, the Delone Catholic football field was renamed J.T. Flaherty Field prior to the final home game of the 1978 football season in recognition of his decades of dedication.

Since his death, several organizations have recognized Mr. Flaherty’s contributions to his alma mater and to Delone Catholic. He was inducted into the South Central Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1988 and into the Adams County (Pa.) Sports Hall of Fame in 2001. In 2004, he was also honored as an “Irish Legend” by Harrison County (W. Va.) Catholic Schools for his teaching and coaching at St. Mary’s High School.