Career : 1976 - 1977
Debut: Round 3, 1976 vs Fitzroy, aged 22 years, 312 days
Carlton Player No. 858
Games : 26
Goals : 4
Last Game : Round 15, 1977 vs St Kilda, aged 24 years, 30 days
Guernsey No. 32
Height : 177 cm ( 5 ft. 9 in.)
Weight : 74.5 kg (11 stone, 10 lbs.)
DOB : June 9, 1953
On a sunny Saturday afternoon in 1974, Carlton’s scouts were impressed by a lightly-framed wingman who starred in North Hobart’s victory in the Southern Tasmanian Football League Grand Final. The 21 year-old speedster was Leigh McConnon, a gifted athlete who had already won a number of professional sprint races. Leigh McConnon’s senior career can be sourced to the late 1960s when, as a 14 year-old, he debuted for his hometown team Triabunna on Tasmania’s east coast. From small beginnings, McConnon embarked on a senior and masters football journey of more than 40 years across Tasmania and Victoria.
North Melbourne were also showing interest in McConnon, but it was the Blues who signed him. He arrived at Princes Park in 1975, he completed his senior debut in the third round match against Fitzroy on the open spaces of VFL Park and began a long and varied football journey. Standing 177 cm and weighing in at 75 kg, he was allocated guernsey number 32, and the freedom to use his speed to advantage. Unfortunately, raw pace proved not to be enough at a time when Richmond, in particular, were developing 183 cm, 85 kg wingmen who were also genuinely quick.
McConnon played 26 games for Carlton and kicked four goals in a two-season stay that lasted until in 1977. In 1978, he bobbed up at Fitzroy, where he racked up another 23 games in seasons 1980-81.
Leigh McConnon was selected to play in a scratch match during the 1980 finals series representing a hybrid Combined Interstate Team to take on a Victorian Representative Team. The State of Origin clashes were to be held at the end of the season so this game was to provide players in the Big V squad not playing finals to have a hit-out. Other current current and former Carlton players in this game included Alan Hamilton, Geoff Ironmonger and Mark Hegarty.
Afterwards McConnon played at VFA clubs Williamstown (until end of 1984 for 28 games and 17 goals) and Sandringham, before successfully turning his hand to coaching at a string of country and suburban clubs.
He then coached Hadfield in the Essendon district league for two years. Leigh then became playing coach of Sunbury in the Riddell District league in 1987. He won a premiership in his first year and followed up with another, this time as non playing coach. He returned to Tasmania in 1989 and became assistant senior coach at North Hobart under Gary Davidson as well as reserves coach.
He moved to Clarence as reserves coach in 1990 and took over from Peter Daniels as senior coach of Clarence in 1991. Leigh coached Clarence until the end of the 1992 season and then decided to try his luck in the media with a job as a commentator for the ABC from 1993-95.
He had a year off from coaching duties in 1996. He returned to coaching in 1997 taking the job at Kingston in their inaugural season in the newly formed STFL competition. He stayed there for three season winning a premiership in his first year with the Tigers. He was appointed coach of the Tasmanian Super Rules team in 1999 for the carnival in Darwin. That team won its second consecutive national title in October 1999. He coached Huonville in the SFL for two years from 1999-2001 and was appointed coach of Glenorchy for the 2002 season. Along the way, Leigh has had success as a professional runner following in the family tradition of his brothers Des and Kerry.
McConnon auspicious service to the game as a coach, selector and contributor in the media. Leigh McConnon has been recognised as the pre-eminent coach in Tasmanian Super Rules over the past two decades. On July 5, 2013 Leigh McConnon became the 272nd player inducted into the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame.