TORONTO (CIS) – Sports reporter Richard Boutin, football coach Sonny Wolfe and long-time administrator Bob Philip will be honoured by Canadian Interuniversity Sport on Wednesday night in Toronto.
The awards reception will be held at the Mattamy Athletic Centre as part of CIS' annual general meeting.
Boutin will receive the Fred Sgambati Media Award, presented annually to a member of media in recognition of major contributions to the development and growth of Canadian university sport.
Wolfe merits the Jean-Marie De Koninck Coaching Excellence Award, presented since 2007 to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to university sport as demonstrated by long-term commitment and leadership as a coach at the local, provincial, national and/or international levels.
Philip will be presented with the Austin-Matthews Award, which honours an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to interuniversity sport, as demonstrated by long-term commitment and leadership as a coach, director, chairperson and/or executive committee member at the local, provincial and/or national levels.
“On behalf of the entire CIS family, in particular our 11,000 student-athletes and 700 coaches, I wish to congratulate our three award recipients and also thank them for their remarkable contribution to Canadian university sport,” said Pierre Lafontaine, chief executive officer of CIS. “Richard, Sonny and Bob are all passionate about CIS and it's important that we take time to celebrate and show our sincere appreciation to such outstanding individuals.”
FRED SGAMBATI MEDIA AWARD
A graduate of Laval University in journalism, Richard Boutin started his career at Le Journal de Québec – one of Quebec City's two major daily newspapers – in 1992 and, since 1998, has been the Journal's main football beat writer, including the high school, CEGEP, university and professional levels.
Over the past 15 years, in addition to his daily coverage of the Laval Rouge et Or program, Boutin has attended 10 Vanier Cup finals, five East West Bowl prospect games, every CFL Combines camp since 2003, countless CFL training camps across the country, as well as all but one Rouge et Or spring camps in Florida since 2002. He has also reported from three Grey Cup finals, one Super Bowl and one world junior championship.
While passionate about football, Boutin also writes regularly about other activities from the Rouge et Or and Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ). This past year alone, he covered the CIS men's soccer and men's volleyball championships hosted by Laval, as well as numerous regular season and playoff events in soccer, basketball, volleyball, swimming, track & field, cross-country running and other sports.
Boutin's resume also includes innumerable international competitions, including world championships in snowboarding and alpine skiing, World Cup events in cross-country skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking, the Olympic trials in swimming, World Baseball Classic, Volleyball World League, Skate Canada (figure skating) and Tour de Beauce (cycling).
Not surprisingly, the tireless worker did not travel from Quebec City to Toronto only to receive the Sgambati Award. He was in Hamilton from Monday until Wednesday morning to follow the progress of former Rouge et Or and RSEQ football standouts at the Tiger-Cats training camp and will make the short trip to Mississauga on Thursday morning to attend the Toronto Argonauts camp.
“Richard is an undeniable media ally in Quebec City and its surroundings. Always on the lookout for the latest developments in university sports, he is passionate and offers unparalleled visibility to our student-athletes and our teams,” said Benoit Doloreux, director of university programs at the RSEQ. “He doesn't hesitate to go the extra mile, especially in the fall during the football season, to cover all Rouge et Or activities.”
JEAN-MARIE DE KONINCK COACHING EXCELLENCE AWARD
Sonny Wolfe completed his 24th and final season as a CIS head football coach in 2011, with stints at Acadia (19 years) and McGill (5). He has also served 15 years as an assistant coach at various CIS institutions, including Sir George Williams (3), McGill (8), StFX (1) and Montreal (3).
His 24 years as a sideline boss ties him with the legendary Gino Fracas for the seventh highest career total in CIS football history. He owns a career 83-94 coaching record in CIS regular-season competition and has developed 20 players who went on to pro football careers in the CFL.
Fluently bilingual in English and French, the 69-year-old native of Montreal was raised in the Cote des Neiges district. Wolfe began his coaching career in 1968 as a defensive line mentor with the NDG Maple Leafs, followed by three seasons as a defensive coach at Sir George Williams University (1969-71) and four years as a defensive coordinator at Vanier College (1972-75).
He played briefly with the Redmen and graduated from McGill with a physical education degree in 1976, then served as a full-time assistant coach and recruiter at McGill for eight seasons under Charlie Baillie from 1976 to 1983.
Wolfe, who holds his level IV coaching certification, left McGill in 1984 for Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., where he served through the 2002 season. He guided the Axemen to 16 post-season appearances in 19 years, reaching the Atlantic conference final 12 times. He led Acadia to three league championships (1986, 1995 and 1998) and won AUS coach of the year honours twice (1986 and 1995).
In 2003, Wolfe moved on to St. Francis Xavier University, where he served as offensive coordinator under Dennis McPhee and helped guide the X-Men to the AUS final. In 2004, he returned to Montreal and joined the Université de Montréal Carabins for three seasons as a defensive coordinator under head coach Jacques Dussault. He also served as an interim head coach for nine months when Dussault took a leave of absence and was the team's offensive coordinator for one year under Marc Santerre.
In 2007, he was appointed head coach and offensive coordinator at McGill and served in that capacity for five years before stepping down in 2011.
“Sonny's four decades of coaching made a mark not just on the Canadian university game, but on a generation of young men,” said Drew Love, executive director of athletics and recreation at McGill. “That type of dedication and longevity is rare and a testament to his love and knowledge of the game. We're proud that Sonny both started and finished his full-time coaching career at McGill, a place where football traditions are honoured and cherished.”
Bob Philip retired as director of athletics and recreation at the University of British Columbia in 2012 after occupying the position for 20 years. Before moving to Vancouver, the native of Montreal served for 21 years at Concordia University (and its predecessor Sir George Williams) in administrative positions, including athletic director and men's hockey coach. He was President of CIS (then CIAU) from 1992 to 1995.
During his 20-year reign at UBC, Philip oversaw one of the most successful periods in Canadian sports history, at any level. The Thunderbirds won 54 CIS championships between 1992 and 2012 to overtake Toronto for most national titles all-time. UBC currently sits at 85.
Over the last two decades, UBC has been represented 79 times at the Olympics by either current student-athletes or Thunderbird alumni. Most recently, former T-Bird Brent Hayden won a bronze medal in swimming at the London Games.
But the success of UBC's teams is just a part of the impact Philip has made on the BC sports scene.
Under his watch, scholarship endowments at the school, collected through events like the TELUS Millennium Breakfast, have grown tremendously, recently topping $10 million. That has allowed the very best BC athletes to stay home and reach their dreams in front of friends and family for almost a generation.
Philip has helped various sports flourish in BC. He has led the charge in building new world-class athletics facilities, such as the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, Thunderbird Park and the John M.S. Lecky UBC Boathouse, giving local athletes and coaches the means necessary to succeed on the national and international stage.
He has also been instrumental in the International University Sports Federation movement, volunteering his time as Canada's delegate to the FISU Games and overseeing ice sports for the Winter Universiade. Under his leadership, UBC has subsidized the cost of sending hundreds of athletes to both the summer and winter world university games.
Finally, Philip's impact can be felt in the coaching aspect of Canadian sports. After becoming athletic director at UBC, he made the decision to hire full-time assistant coaches for many varsity teams. This gave improved prospects for young coaches starting their careers, allowing them to continue teaching athletes instead of moving on to other careers.
“Bob's greatest strengths have always been his vision and his attitude. He is an extraordinary visionary with the ability to see things through; and his attitude of we can always be better – better for student-athletes and better for coaches is what I believe to be his greatest legacy,” said Theresa Hanson, associate director, intercollegiate and high performance sport at UBC. “On behalf of the UBC Thunderbirds, both past and present, I wish to genuinely thank Bob for his vision, his attitude of making us better and his passion for university sport.&rdquo