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A celebration of gridiron glory—and need

A celebration of gridiron glory—and need

Every few years football alumni and friends gather on a fall weekend to honour a new crop of inductees into Queen’s Football Hall of Fame and to talk some football. This is one of those Legacy Weekend years.
[The 1964 Golden Gaels national championship team will be one of the teams honoured at the 2010 Football Hall of Fame induction cereminies.] The 1964 Golden Gaels national
championship team will one of the
teams honored at the 2010 Legacy
Weekend celebrations. 
(Alumni Review file photo)

Organized to coincide with what has come to be known in the football community as Legacy Weekend (you may recall last year’s celebration of all-time greats Hal McCarney, BA’52, and Bill Miklas, BA’63, MBA’65), this year’s date is October 22-23 and features a home game against York. Given that the football Gaels are coming off last season’s Vanier Cup victory, the weekend promises to be something special indeed.

Honoured this year will be several individual inductees, as well as three significant teams.

In the PLAYERS category, the inductees include, from the early 1960s:

  • Bill Sirman, Arts’63, Law’72, a running back and strong team supporter down the years;
  • Mark Robinson, Sc’94, MSc’95, an offensive tackle from the early 1990s;
  • and three members of mid ‘90s teams -- James Osborn, Artsci’97, MSc’99, Paul Correale, Artsci/PHE’99, Ed’00, and Jim Aru, Artsci/PHE’98—names well known to players and fans alike.

In the BUILDERS category, two highly deserving individuals are being inducted:

  • Bob Howes, Arts’67, full-time assistant coach 1982-94 and head coach 1995-99,
  • and Bob Mullan, Artsci’80, Ed’81, a legendary defensive coach from 1984 to 2000.

The teams to be honoured (a recent innovation of the Hall selection process) include

  •  the 1956 Yates Cup winners--who included Stewart, Schreider, Bruce and others,
  •  the 1964 club (two successive undefeated seasons, and Yates Cup winners in ’63 and ’64 with Young, Connor, Norrie and others as players),
  • and the 1968 Vanier Cup champions (Queen’s first Vanier Cup winners with Bayne, Lilles, Climie and others).

It promises to be a fine time, indeed. Old friendships will be renewed. Oft-repeated war stories will be embellished yet again, and the prospects for the 2010 season will, no doubt, be debated at length.

The conversation will almost certainly also turn to the need for prompt action to deal with the sorry state of Richardson Stadium, which is clearly on its last legs after 40 years of service as a “temporary” replacement for the old, on-campus stadium.

Part of the West Campus Fields and Stadium Initiative (which also includes a renewal of the surrounding sports fields and the building of an arena), the stadium has been described as “rickety” and “ramshackle” by The Globe and Mail.

The University is now actively investigating what is needed and how to approach the funding of such a project in a time of general constraint—and with bills for the on-campus recreation centre still coming in. Football, other field sports, and hockey alumni have also been at work for some time now, talking to potential donors and raising funds.

Various naming opportunities have been identified (among many others, the designation of two of the fields to be named in honour of McCarney and Miklas) to which gifts can be designated.

But time is short; the need for action pressing. Otherwise it may well be necessary to simply fix the current stadium for safety reasons. Such an action would have precipitous consequences not simply for the football program and its proud, nearly 120 year old, tradition. But it would also seriously impact team sports in general at Queen’s to say nothing of regional public, high school, and recreational team sport activities more generally.

That realization and concern will no doubt find voice at the Legacy Weekend this fall and will hopefully lead not just to a willingness to support the initiative but more importantly to concrete action going forward.

Regardless, the stadium situation is unlikely to dampen the spirits of Hall of Fame celebration attendees though, and rightly so.

The 2010 inductees join a select list of alumni and friends who have been recognized for their outstanding contributions to Queen’s football, which began in 1882 and which, at 128 years and counting, is one of North America’s oldest continuing athletic traditions. It is one that has survived many obstacles over the years, including extended losing streaks, fraternity scandals and wars.

It’s a safe bet that the Gaels’ football program will surmount the deficiencies of the existing stadium and will still be alive and kicking years from now when still more names will be added to the list of the greats from the past.

Congratulations to this year's honorees.

MERV DAUB is Professor Emeritus, Queen’s School of Business, and a former Golden Gaels team captain, and author of Gael Force: A Century of Football at Queen’s.

[Queen's Alumni Review 2010-3 cover]