OTTAWA (CIS) – Neil Lumsden, a standout running back and kicker at the University of Ottawa, and Larry Haylor, a legendary coach at Western University, are hours away from becoming immortalized in Canadian football history.
The duo was announced last November as part of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame's 2014 induction class, along with former CFL players Ben Cahoon, Uzooma Okeke, Maurice (Moe) Racine and Charles Roberts, as well as former CFL coach and current general manager Wally Buono, who will enter the Hall in the builders category.
The induction gala dinner is set for Saturday night in Montreal.
Lumsden will join the Hall in the players category.
The London, Ont., native made his debut with the Ottawa Gee-Gees in 1972 and had an immediate impact as a freshman, being voted MVP of the OUA East Division and earning a spot on the all-Canadian team. At the end of his four-year university career, he had been named an OUA all-star every season, an OUA MVP three times and a CIS all-Canadian on three occasions. His 410 career points stood as the CIS record for almost four decades and are now good for second place behind the 422 tallied over five campaigns by Western kicker Lirim Hajrullahu.
In 1975, as one of the team captains, Lumsden was the cornerstone of arguably the best Gee-Gees squad in history. That season, Ottawa posted an unblemished 11-0 overall record en route to capturing its first Vanier Cup title thanks to a 14-9 win over Calgary at CNE Stadium in Toronto. Their workhorse running back was named MVP of the national championship match after he rushed for 169 yards on 27 carries, in addition to handling kicking and punting duties. The 148 points he put on the scoreboard in seven conference games in 1975 rank second in CIS annals, only two behind the standard set by StFX's Paul Brule in 1967.
Once the dust had settled on his playing days with the Garnet and Grey, Lumsden held numerous school records, including career marks for most points (410), all-purpose touchdowns (31) and rushing majors (27).
Following graduation, he embarked on a successful 10-year playing career in the CFL with Toronto, Hamilton and Edmonton, winning three consecutive Grey Cups with the Eskimos from 1980 to 1982. The eastern conference nominee for rookie of the year in 1976, he was named the most outstanding Canadian in the 1981 Grey Cup thanks to his eight receptions for 91 yards. He would add a fourth CFL title to his resume in 1999 as general manager of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Lumsden has returned to CIS football in various capacities in recent years, including as the honourary chairman of the 2008 Vanier Cup in Hamilton. His son, Jesse, followed in his footsteps as a star CIS and CFL running back, meriting the Hec Crighton Trophy as the most outstanding player in CIS with the McMaster Marauders, in 2004.
"Neil is a major figure in our tradition of football excellence at the University of Ottawa," said Luc Gélineau, director of sports services. "His playing days here helped create the passion he has for university sport, and his understanding of the Canadian sport system is very well established. The Gee-Gees will always be proud of his accomplishments and we congratulate him on this new honour."
Haylor will be inducted into the CFHOF as a builder.
The native of Prince Albert, Sask., got his first taste of CIS football as a quarterback with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in 1966 and 1967. He started his coaching career at the university level as an assistant with the Huskies from 1971 to 1973, had a brief stint as offensive coordinator of the Dalhousie Tigers in 1974, and later than season moved to London and joined the Western coaching staff in the same capacity.
A seven-time OUA coach of the year and a two-time recipient of the Frank Tindall Trophy as CIS coach of the year (1990, 1998), Haylor led the Mustangs to 22 consecutive campaigns with a record of .500 or better. During his tenure, the 'Stangs reached five national finals, claiming the Vanier Cup in 1989 and 1994, and played in 13 OUA title games, returning home with the Yates Cup on eight occasions.
Four Mustangs captured the Hec Crighton Trophy as CIS football player of the year during Haylor's illustrious career, including Andy Fantuz in 2005, Tim Tindale in 1991 and 1993, and Blake Marshall in 1986. Two of his pupils were CIS defensive MVP, one was named the top lineman in the nation, and two more claimed CIS rookie-of-the-year honours.
In 2009, CIS honoured him with the Jean-Marie De Koninck Coaching Excellence Award, presented 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 of Canadian university sport. The same year, he joined Western University's Wall of Champions.
In 2011, four years into "retirement", Haylor served as head coach for Canada's first-ever entry at the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) senior world championships.
"Larry Haylor is a legend at Western and in CIS football," said Thérèse Quigley, director of sport and recreation services at Western. "He is a leader who inspired many in the game to give back to it as coaches, broadcasters, builders and lifelong supporters. His intellect and insight had a profound influence on the development of football at all levels across Canada and his continued involvement has Larry serving as an ambassador of our game on the international level."
CFHOF website: www.cfhof.ca