Alumni reception in Burlington

Last week the Friends of Gryphon Football hosted another successful regional
reception for the Hamilton and Halton regions. Seventy folks turned up. Mostly football alumni with some current players, 2014 recruits and family members.

The oldest alumnus in attendance was Dr. Wayne Gerrie, a 1956 OVC grad. Gerrie was a running back who suited up for the Redmen from 1951-1955. Playing in the days before the CFL had a draft he participated in a 1955 Edmonton Eskimos rookie camp and received an invitation in 1956 to tryout for the Montreal Alouettes. Gerrie went straight into veterinary practice rather than head to Montreal. Other OAC grads included Don Taylor and Lou Murray, both from 1963. Others in attendance who entered Guelph in the late 1960s but graduated in the early seventies included Bill Morrison and Dave Hutton. Plus Bill Laidlaw, Mark Brown, Wayne Denman and Scott Hobson from the mid to late seventies.

I finally had a chance to meet Don “Hammer” Murray, a middle linebacker from the mid 1980s. I asked him about the origin of the nickname. Surprisingly, it didn’t come from Randy Dimitroff but rather QB Randy Walters. Also from that era, Wayne England, John O’Brien, Scott Patrick and Tony Reis. Reis showed up to prove that several recently broken bones and surgically-repaired body parts couldn’t keep him away. And NO, he isn’t giving up motorcycle racing.

In a brief but important part of the evening we heard from several coaches. Coach Stu Lang spoke about his vision for the program and left no doubt about his desire to win a Yates Cup soon. He repeated his appeal/pledge from the Gala – raise $1 million for athletic scholarships in the next two years and the football program will match each donation dollar for dollar.

Lang introduced the assistant coaches who were present – Brian Cluff, Mike MacDonald, Neil Lumsden, Marcello Campanero, Adam Grandy and Mike Aloisio, plus new Strength and Conditioning Coach Jordan Foley. He then brought up DC Kevin MacNeill and OC Todd Galloway who answered questions. It was great to see so many coaches come out to meet and interact with alumni and families members. It was a great way for people to get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere.

A big thanks to Lou Toppan, father of OL Matt Toppan who was also in attendance, for capturing a few of the evening’s guests and highlights in photos!

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