Queen's sweeps OUA Fox 40 Coaches of the Year
HUNTSVILLE, Ont. - Queen's Gaels football head coach Pat
Sheahan and men's volleyball head coach Brenda
Willis were named 2009-10 Fox 40 Ontario University
Athletics (OUA) coaches of the year in a ceremony held Thursday
evening at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ont.
Sheahan celebrated his 10th season at Queen's and his 22nd season as a head coach in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS). In his 10 seasons with the Gaels, Sheahan has led a resurgence of the proud Queen's football program. He took over a team that had been 2-6 in 1999, and guided it to their most dramatic improvement in the modern era, finishing with a 5-3 record in 2001 and making the playoffs for the first time since 1997, earning him OUA coach of the year honours. For the 2002 campaign, he led Queen's to a 7-1 regular season record, its best in a decade, and took the team to its first Yates Cup in only its second year back in OUA. The 2003 campaign again brought a 7-1 regular season. In 2008, Sheahan led Queen's to one of its most memorable campaigns ever becoming the first Gaels squad to capture eight wins in a single year and just the eighth Queen's team to post an undefeated regular season. As a result, Sheahan captured back-to-back OUA coach of the year honours in 2007 and 2008 attaining the CIS Frank Tindall coach of the year honour in 2008.
This past season was Sheahan's crowning achievement. The Queen's Gaels football team captured the Yates Cup, the Mitchell Bowl and the Vanier Cup last November to cap off an incredible season. After finishing the regular season atop the OUA standings with a 7-1 record, the Gaels easily handled the McMaster Marauders in the OUA semifinal before facing their arch-rivals, the Western Mustangs. In one of the greatest games in Yates Cup history, Danny Brannagan (Burlington, Ont.) outdueled Michael Faulds (Eden Mills, Ont.) in a showdown on the two top passers in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) history to lead Queen's to their first OUA title since 1978.
The victory advanced the Gaels to the Mitchell Bowl where they squared-off against the No. 1-ranked team in Canada, the Laval Rouge et Or. With Laval looking to advance to the Vanier Cup on their home turf, Queen's spoiled the party as they upset the Rouge et Or by a score of 33-30. The Gaels finished their season in style as they overcame an 18-point halftime deficit to shock the Calgary Dinos by a score of 33-31 and capture their fourth Vanier Cup.
Five-time OUA coach of the year and OUA 3M coaching award winner Willis completed her 23rd campaign with the Gaels and her 36th year of coaching. Her career coaching record at Queen's is 247-93 in OUA league competition. In 2009, Willis served as head coach of the Maccabia national men's volleyball team, earning a bronze medal for Canada – which is the first men's volleyball medal Canada has ever won in these games. In 1993, she led Team Ontario to a gold medal finish in the Canada Games. Willis just completed a 10 year stint as president of the Ontario Volleyball Association, and remains an active learning facilitator for levels one through three. In 2007, she was the honoured recipient of the Rolf Lund Jule Nisse Award, presented by the Ontario Sport Alliance and the Ministry of Health Promotion to an individual who has demonstrated a life-time commitment to playground to podium sport.
In 2009-10 Willis led the men's volleyball team to a second place finish during the regular season with a 16-4 record. After finishing second at the OUA championship the last two years, the Queen's men's volleyball team, led by Willis, reclaimed the OUA banner as they defeated the Western Mustangs (26-28, 16-25, 25-23, 25-22, 15-12) and the Guelph Gryphons (25-22, 17-25, 17-25, 25-22, 15-13) in thrilling five-set matches at the OUA Final Four championship. Joren Zeeman (Cambridge, Ont.) was named the Mikasa player of the match for Queen's in the final, and was a force the entire match as he recorded 24 points, 19 of them off of kills.
The Gaels went on to finish fifth at the CIS championships. Queen's has won three of the past five OUA banners, having made the final the last five seasons. She has an .800 winning percentage over these seasons, with a career coaching record of 247-93. In addition to her coaching duties, Willis also teaches in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's.
It is the first Fox 40 OUA coach of the year awards for both Sheahan and Willis, and only the second time that both Fox 40 coaches of the year came from the same school, matching the 2001-02 feat of Western Mustangs men's hockey coach Clarke Singer and cross country and track and field coach Vicki Croley.
Outgoing OUA president and Brock Badgers athletic director Dr. Lorne Adams is this year's recipient of the J.P. Loosemore Award winner, given to an individual who exemplifies the best in university sport in terms of ethics, integrity and honesty in an administrative role. Adams has been a staple at Brock for over 35 years as a professor, administrator and coach. As OUA president, he revised the governance structure of OUA and delivered a new sort model which will strengthen the organization for years to come. Adams moved the OUA office to its current location in Hamilton, Ont., saw the OUA host the Vanier Cup in conjunction with the Grey Cup for the first time in 2007 in Toronto and helped develop University Rush on The Score into a strong, sustainable and viable sports property. As chair of the athletic financial awards task force, OUA introduced entering athletic scholarships in September of 2007. Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion funding has increased by over 90 percent over the past five years and OUA corporate sponsorship increased by 37 percent over Adams' term.
Long-time Western Mustangs head football coach Larry Haylor is this year's recipient of the John McManus Award, given to a retired OUA coach who exemplifies the highest ideals and qualities of sportsmanship and service while engaged in coaching in university sport. With a career record of 178-47-4, Haylor is the winningest football coach in CIS history, a mark which many never be equalled again. During his 22 seasons as head coach, the Mustangs won two Vanier Cups, eight Yates Cups in 13 appearances and had 22 consecutive seasons with a record of .500 or better. During his tenure Haylor was named OUA coach of the year seven times and was a two-time winner of the Frank Tindall Trophy in 1990 and 1998. In Haylor's retirement, a new Larry Haylor Recruitment Scholarship Fund was announced with over $250,000 committed from a number of donors. Haylor has been a strong advocate for recognizing the value of athletes and supporting their effort to excel on the playing field and in the classroom.
Mary Caton of The Windsor Star is the first-ever female recipient of the OUA Media Award. Caton has been a sports reporter with the paper for over 25 years covering various Windsor Lancers teams throughout the years. Focusing specifically on basketball, volleyball and track and field, Caton's reporting helps keeps Lancer fans and followers abreast of the teams progress and up-to-date with all the latest news and results. Working in a city with four major professional sports teams compete only 20 minutes away in Detroit, her efforts have helped to ensure that the Lancers teams have remained relevant and received fair and accurate coverage throughout the years. In 2009-10 she received the Lancers ‘A' Award presented annually to an individual who has made a special contribution to Lancer Athletics. Caton is a former OUA student-athlete, playing two years of volleyball with the Rams before switching to basketball in her third year. In her final season, she was named team MVP and Ryerson female athlete of the year in 1979.
Special recognition was also given to retiring Toronto Varsity Blues athletic director Liz Hoffman. For nearly four decades, she has been an influential leader in Canadian sport, as an elite athlete, an inspirational coach and a widely-respected administrator. Throughout her career she was dedicated to driving athletic excellence at University of Toronto. A graduate of the faculty, a standout Varsity athlete in swimming and field hockey and a highly-accomplished golfer on the national and international stage, Hoffman has dedicated her entire career to the University of Toronto. Her roles have continued to grow, from athletic instructor and swimming and field hockey coach, to intercollegiate coordinator, athletic director and assistant dean of co-curricular programs. She has been a driving force behind the growth of intercollegiate competition in Canada. She served on the CIS board of directors during three different decades (1982-86, 1993-97, 2003-07) including serving as its president from 1995-97, and has been a delegate to OUA and its predecessors since 1977, including terms as president/past president from 1980-83 and 2003-07.