Wiley Horton (October 4, 1937 – April 12, 2011) was a college basketball player from NAU (Northern Arizona University - formerly Arizona State College). During his years playing college basketball as a forward from 1956 to 1960, Horton was one of the nation's scoring leaders in the number of baskets made in a season. These points were long before the 3-point range was included. He and his fellow Lumberjack, Bill Aaron, led NAU to wins in 61 percent of the games they played, including a remarkable 38 wins to 9 losses (.809).
In 1999, Wiley Horton was nominated to be inducted into the Hall of Fame by NAU Athletics. On October 29, 1999, just after turning 62 years old, Wiley accepted the prestigious award. After being introduced by Coach Herb Gregg, Wiley took longer to speak to the audience. Laughter filled the room after he shared the story about "tipping the ball in" from a jump ball with fellow player and Hall of Fame recipient, Bill Aaron. Wiley was known for his cool and calm personality and had a sense of humor that will always be remembered. During his college days, Wiley was also a member of the Chain Gang. As a sophomore, he was elected "Most Eligible Bachlelor."
In 1958, Horton won the Joseph C. Rolle Award as the team's most valuable player. He is a member of the "1000-point Club" (before the new 3-point earning system) and is listed sixth as the all-time scorer with 1,250 points.
Wiley Horton was born in Chandler, Texas (near Tyler). He was the second oldest of five (5) children. He has two brothers and two sisters. His family moved to Arizona where his parents put Wiley and his older brother, Bobby, to work in melon and cotton fields. He recalls vividly lying on carts while being pushed down the field rows. They would hang off the cart picking until their fingers bled. His mother was a homemaker, while his father became Chief of Police in Eloy, Arizona. At 14, Wiley figured out that if he had a job at the local grocery store, it would replace the tough field work.
Wiley graduated from Santa Cruz Valley High School in Eloy, Arizona. He held many records in track and field, with some lasting more than 20 years---Arizona state champion in the discus throw. He was also outstanding in basketball, baseball, and football. One recent story told about Wiley being uncertain whether he wanted to play football or basketball at NAU. While being recruited by coaches, he threw the football from one end-zone to the other end-zone and then replied, "I think I'll play basketball!"
After graduating at NAU, Wiley married his college girlfriend, Ann Elizabeth "Betsy" Geshell. They had three children and were married nearly 50 years. During his first years of teaching history and P.E. at Antelope Union High School, he also coached basketball, baseball, and assistant football. Many years he led his teams to conference championships, thus qualifying for the Arizona State Tournament. In 1971, Wiley and Betsy accepted teaching positions in Yuma, AZ, where he taught mechanical drawing/industrial arts until retiring in 1993. During his 31 years as an educator, Wiley was actively involved with sports, but later preferred a quiet life. He also was an avid fisherman, having a passion for catching crappie in Arizona lakes. Being a gifted athlete, Wiley made 3 holes-in-one during his golfing years.