Last week saw the first of 2017’s Friends of Gryphon Football regional receptions take place in Niagara. Almost 50 people turned out to the St. Catharines Golf & Country Club. The crowd included former Gryphons and family members, a half dozen coaches and several of the committed recruits from the region.
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♦ The oldest alumnus at the event was Clayton Brown. He was accompanied by his wife Lynn. A St. Catharines native, Brown attended Guelph from 1964 to 1968 but he didn’t take a direct path from high school to university.
In fact, Brown was 24 when he enrolled at Guelph. Prior to that he rowed for Canada in the 1960 Rome Olympics. He then worked several years to earn the money for university. Finally, he bookended his Gryphon football career by rowing for Canada again in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.
♦ The newest additions to the Gryphon family in attendance were some of members of the 2017 recruiting class – Sandor Mod [DT Welland -Notre Dame], Collin Reese [OL South Lincoln] and Braeden Ashford [OL Saltfleet].
♦ The University of Guelph’s Director of Athletics Scott McRoberts has made a point of adding these receptions to his busy schedule. His plans to attend most, if not all of them, took a blow last week when he came down sick the day of the event. That didn’t mean that there wasn’t an OUA A.D. in attendance. FoGF was pleased to welcome Brock University A.D., and former Gryphon coach, Neil Lumsden to the event.
♦ Head Coach Kevin MacNeill briefly addressed those gathered but spent most of his time answering questions from the audience. Among the more interesting topics covered – changes to the coaching staff, the status of the new Football Pavillion, a potential preseason game in 2017.
First, there was the creation of a full-time recruiting position and OC Todd Galloway’s decision to take that job. The resulting vacancy of the offensive coordinator position was filled by Jean-Francois Joncas, head coach of Lennoxille, Quebec’s Champlain College. MacNeill teased the audience with early notice of another surprise – look for an additional announcement of another addition to the coaching staff in the next 30 days.
Second, the Pavillion is moving ahead on the inside now that the roof is finished. Lots of drywall has been going up. The facility should be ready to open by June.
Finally, plans for a pre-season game with Canada West regular season co-champs the Regina Rams didn’t work out. But Coach MacNeill came up with a pretty good Plan B. The Gryphons have reached an agreement to play the St Francis Xavier X-Men in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. The game is still dependent upon certain requirements of the AUS conference being worked out. The X-Men have won the past two AUS championships.
You can find the dates and locations of upcoming Friends of Gryphon Football receptions here.