FoGF holds successful reception in London

Gryphons defensive end pipeline from London area - (l-r) Devin Catt [2016 recruit], Derek Droulliard [3rd yr], Erik Anton [2016 rercruit], Cam Walker [Toronto Argos] & Grant MacDonald [former OUA all star]

Guelph’s defensive end pipeline from London area – (l-r) Devin Catt [2016 recruit], Derek Droulliard [3rd yr], Erik Anton [2016 recruit], Cam Walker [Toronto Argos] & Grant MacDonald [former OUA all star]

The Friends of Gryphon Football brought their regional receptions to London for the first time. This year the events are also known as the #YatesCupVictoryTour and the London tour stop went about as well as last November’s Yates Cup game.

There were more than a few last minute “regrets”, some related to the Freezing Rain Warning. Traffic problems on the 401 didn’t stop coaches Kevin MacNeill, Stu Lang, Adam Grandy and Bill Brown, plus the valuable silver cup they brought with them, from making it through from Guelph safely. All in all, 38 members of the Gryphon family gathered last night at London’s German Canadian Club.

The alumni present included three Wildman Trophy winnersBill Sproule (1958), Dr. Steve Stewart (1969) and Sam Benincasa (1983).

In addition to alumni, parents and coaches, on hand were three 2016 recruits from the London area. They were defensive line prospects Devin Catt [East Elgin] and Erik Anton [St Joseph’s], plus Dionovan Grosbeck [Laurier], a DB & kick returner.

I had a chance to talk to Catt and Anton. My first question for Catt … was he a farm boy? Absolutely. Will he be studying Agriculture? No. He has an older brother who is an Aggie, already in year 3 of OAC. Catt will be studying Mechanical Engineering. Anton, on the other hand, is interested in the Criminal Justice program and History.

I didn’t have a chance to talk to Grosbeck who arrived late because he had a speaking engagement elsewhere. That’s correct. He delivered a speech to a civic organization before he came to the reception. That’s not uncommon for him according to Matt Vine. A Gryphon alumnus and teacher, Vine coached Grosbeck at Sir Wilfrid Laurier SS and called him the best football player he has seen at the school in his six years there. Laurier is also the alma mater of head coach Kevin MacNeill.

London'16 03

When MacNeill addressed the gathering he introduced the coaches, players and recruits on hand; talked about Winter practices (including a little extra discipline he was trying to instill); shared a story about how Grant MacDonald had helped him recruit a top London prospect for two years; and gave a brief update on the Triple Victory Project. He brought Bill Brown forward talk about the new Football Pavilion and his alumni communication efforts. If you’re an alumnus and not receiving an email update from the football program once a month, then we don’t have a valid email address for you. You can find the new Team App here.

As usual, MacNeill answered questions from the audience, of which there were not nearly as many as at previous events. Most of the discussion centered around the Yates Cup game – what happened in the dressing room at halftime, the confidence the Gryphons showed even when they were losing, the final UWO drive, et cetera. Apparently the defensive play calls that allowed the Mustangs to march the length of the field in the dying minutes won’t happen with Adam Grandy calling the defensive signals in 2016. 🙂

As for the Triple Victory Project, the numbers look very promising. There are commitments approaching $800,000 with a couple more endowed scholarships in the works being led by alumni from the late 1960s and the 1996 Yates Cup team. Part of that momentum is the new Tricar Scholarship. It is the result of a generous donation from alumnus Adam Carapella and his family’s London-based company, the Tricar Group. There is some optimism that with a strong final push the goal of $1 million can be met by the May 7 deadline.

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