SURREY, BC – Legendary BC Junior Football coach Lorne Cullen, current Subway Bowl chairman Larry Reda, and former BC Lions’ great Lui Passaglia were among the individuals named to the BC Football Hall of Fame inaugural induction class on Friday.
In total the BC Football Hall of Fame – which was the vision of late BC Lions president and CEO, Bob Ackles, to recognize, honour and celebrate those who built British Columbia’s proud football history through their efforts on the field and behind the scenes – named 13 individuals and two teams as part of their class of 2011.
In all, seven categories were announced including Athlete (Norm Fieldgate, Lui Passaglia, Jim Young, Glenn Steele); Builder (Bob Ackles, Lorne Davies, Lorne Cullen, Larry Reda); Pioneer (Annis Stukus); Team (1964 BC Lions, 1947 Vancouver Blue Bombers); Media (Jim Taylor, Al Davidson); CFL Bob Ackles Award (Vic Spencer) and the Hall of Fame’s own Special Award (David Braley).
“Today is a great day in the long and successful history of football in our province,” said BC Football Hall of Fame CEO Tom Malone. “It was Bob’s long term visiion and passion to grow football in British Columbia and recognize those individuals and teams who have dedicated their time and effort on and off the field to making our game what it is today.”
The inductees were announced at a press conference at the BC Lions Training Facility in Surrey by 2011 Grey Cup GM Scott Ackles, son of the late Bob Ackles.
“I was raised on football,” said Ackles. “After family, football was my father’s lifelong passion. Today is a very special day and I could not be more proud to see his dream of a BC Football Hall of Fame continuing to grow.”
The 2011 inductees will be celebrated at the BC Lions’ home game on October 29 versus the Edmonton Eskimos at BC Place Stadium.
The Hall also announced they are accepting nominations for the 2012 class on their website at bcfootballhalloffame.com.
Fieldgate, a former end and linebacker for the BC Lions from 1954 to 1967, was a three time Western All-Star and was a member of the first Lions team to go to the Grey Cup in 1963 before helping them win it the following season. He was selected to the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 1970 (the first Lion to be so honoured) and to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
Young, a former wide receiver and slotback with the Lions from 1967 to 1979, led the team in receiving in his first nine seasons with them. He set the Lions’ all-time receiving record as a rookie and surpassed that total two more times before retiring. He was elected to the Canadian Fooball Hall of Fame in 1991.
Steele, a running back, was one of the finrest high school football players ever to play in BC with Vancouver’s Notre Dame High School before moving on to the UBC Thunderbirds program. With UBC, he was selected to the 1981 All-Canadian team and won the Peter Gorman Trophy as Canada’s outstanding rookie university fotball player. The following year he was named league MVP, MVP in the national semi-final Atlantic Bowl, and MVP in the Vanier Cup game. He would finish his college career as a three-time All-Canadian and league rushing champion for three consecutive seasons.
After starring with the SFU Clan as a quarterback, receiver and kicker, Passaglia went onto a prolific CFL career with the BC Lions as a kicker and punter from 1976 to 2000. He was a nine-time West All-Star and a four-time All-Canadian. As the all-time leading scorer in professional football, Lui holds the all-time CFL records of 3,991 points, 875 field goal, 1,045 converts, and 309 singles. He was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
1964 BC Lions
The 1964 edition of the BC Lions was the first to capture the Grey Cup. The team featured seven Canadian Football Hall of Fame inductees including original Lions Norm Fieldgate and Byron Bailey. They defeated Hamilton 34-24 in the Grey Cup in Toronto.
1947 Vancouver Blue Bombers
This junior club captured the 1947 Dominion Junior Football championship under the leadership of Mr. Ranjit Mattu and was the first BC-based club to win the natinoal junior title.
A member of the original 1954 club as a water boy and equipment assistant, Bob grew up with the organization rapidly rising up the ranks. He became the junior football coordinator and eventually was promoted to General Manager in 1975. Ackles led the Lions to a Grey Cup title in 1985 before departing the club but returned in 2002 as President and led the team to a Grey Cup in 2006. He passed away in 2008. He was named to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
In over 60 years of involvement in amateur football, Reda has coached at every level of amateur football in addition to time spent as Director and President of the BC Jnior Football League, President of Football BC and Executive Director of BC High School Football Association among other titles. He is presently the Chairman of the BC High School Championships Subway Bowl. He was the 2004 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the BC Lions at the annual Orange Helmet Awards Banquet.
As SFU’s Athletics Director from 1965 to 1995, Davies helped build that program from the ground up turning it into one of the premier athletic programs in the entire country. Prior to that, he was an integral part of the 1947 Vancouver Blue Bombers as a player but made his biggest mark in football as a coach. In 25 years spent on football sidelines, he had stints with the Vancouver Blue Bombers, Western Washington University, University of Oregon, UBC and the BC Lions.
Cullen is most well-known for his time with the Vancouver Blue Bombers – an organization he was involved in for over 25 years as a player and coach. He took over as head coach if the Bombers in 1950 and held that post until retiring in 1968. He compiled a regular season record of 68-28-2 along with a 13-6 playoff record and led them to eight first place finishes and eight BC Championships. Since 2001, the BCFC has awarded their league champion the Cullen Cup named in Lorne’s honour.
Stukus was the BC Lions’ first-ever head coach and general manager and led the club on the field for their first two years in the old WIFU. He was a key builder in the original BC Lions Football Club and was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1974.
Davidson was one of Vancouver’s most colourful and beloved sportcasters for more than three decades. Davidson began his career in Port Arthur, Ontario and had stops in Regina, Winnipeg and Toronto before coming to CKNW in Vancouver where he anchored the sports department from 1958 to 1987. His daily “Spotlight on Sport” often featured perspectives on the BC Lions and he was a key figure on Lions radio broadcasts.
Taylor enjored an impressive career as a columnist and beat reporter in British Columbia. He began his career in Victoria in 1954 and later wrote for The Vancouver Sun, The Province and The Calgary Sun. Jim held a special interest in the BC Lions and among the books he authored was Dirty Thirty, a biography of Lions’ receiver Jim Young. He was a member of the Football Reporters of Canada who honoured him in 1989. In 2010, he received the Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award for BC journalism.
CFL Bob Ackles Award:
Spencer played a key role in the birth of the BC Lions spearheading a grup that first applied to the WIFU in 1951. He spent nine years as part of the club’s executive and helped to attract the first Grey Cup held in Vancouver in 1955. He was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
BC Football Hall of Fame Special Award:
After taking over the BC Lions franchise in January 1997, Braley spearheded the club’s tremendous success during his 15 years of ownership. Braley has served as the chair of the CFL’s Board of Governors and was also the CFL’s interim commissioner from March 2002 to November 2002. In 2009, he received the Consumer’s Choice Award as Vancouver Business Man of the Year. In 2010, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed David to the Senate.