Tindall, Frank (1908-1993)

[Coach Tindall and his players in the locker room after winning the 1955 intercollegiate championship]
Coach Tindall and his players in the locker room after winning the 1955 intercollegiate championship

One of the legendary figures in Queen's athletics and a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, Frank Tindall coached football and basketball at Queen's from 1947 until 1975.

Three Grey Cup wins in the 1920s had cemented football’s importance at Queen's. The 1930s, however, brought mixed results and after a winless year in 1938, a new coach was brought in to shake up the team. Frank Tindall, was hired to fill the post.

Tindall was born in the United States and was educated at Syracuse University, where he was selected as an All-America football star. Upon his arrival at Queen's in 1939, he coached the football team for a single season before the outbreak of the Second World War.

[photo of Frank Tindall on the sidelines at a football game]

When the war was over, he returned to the team, with his trademark crew-cut haircut and cigar, and quickly showed results for his teams.

Under his leadership, Queen's football teams won a total of eight intercollegiate titles and one national title, the 1968 Vanier Cup. The Frank Tindall trophy is given annually to the top intercollegiate football coach in Canada.

Coach Tindall’s success rested on two strengths. He was a brilliant tactician, closely studying game films, carefully planning his offensive and defensive strategies and nimbly adapting to each game. Mr. Tindall’s teams had an impressive knack for adjusting at half time and storming to victory in the second half.

Mr. Tindall also excelled because he understood that sports were about building character. He could spot talent and knew how to develop it. He groomed his players to adjust quickly to the twists and turns of a game’s strategy, and they grew loyal to their coach. Ron Stewart, Queen’s outstanding 1950s running back, captured that feeling when he said, "You could finish second best and experience something your opponents wouldn't – playing for Frank Tindall."

By the time he retired in 1976, the "kindly old coach," as he was affectionately known to his players, had chalked up 186 victories against 104 losses and two ties, a winning percentage of 56 per cent. Other Queen’s coaches had higher win ratios, but no other has enjoyed such lasting affection.

He died in 1993. Tindall Field, next to Mackintosh-Corry Hall on Queen's main campus is named in his honour.