The University of Toronto’s 189 years of athletic culture and sporting legacy is often overlooked by many. Now in it’s twenty-ninth year, the U of T Sports Hall of Fame chronicles and pays homage to this legacy.
Located in the A. Gordon Stollery Atrium of the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, the hall celebrated its 2016 induction of athletes, coaches, builders, and teams on June 2.
Nominations to the hall of fame can be made by Varsity Blues personnel, usually 10 years after the nominee has retired from service. The selection committee, consisting of nine members, approves nominated candidates.
There are three categories that members of the hall of fame can fall under: student-athletes, teams, and builders.
Student-athletes are selected based on their achievements and contributions in multiple standings — on provincial, national, international levels — and they do not need to be varsity athletes to receive the distinction.
Teams must have competed at the highest intercollegiate level applicable at the time and be a part of the school’s varsity program.
Lastly, builders must have contributed to the University of Toronto program in a role other than that of a student-athlete. They must have been members of athletic institutions, faculty, or administrative staff pertaining to U of T and in support of its athletics.
Among this year’s inductees were the 1959–1963 men’s rugby team, who were arguably the most dominant team in the school’s history, winning five intercollegiate championships.
The late Harry Griffith was also honoured. Griffith was known as one of the most intelligent minds in early Canadian football. He led the University of Toronto to victory over Toronto Parkdale, winning the first ever Grey Cup in 1909. He was an avatar for good sportsmanship; remarking, “If you lose, say nothing; if you win, say less.” He did all this, while teaching French at the university.
Perhaps the most notable inductee of the night was Gordon Wright, a former fitness administrator, who was inducted as a builder. Wright truly left his mark on Ontario sport.
Growing up on a farm, he was raised with a belief in hard work, and he used this principle to drive himself to become a wrestling champion at the national level. In addition to his wrestling career, he was the Director of Physical and Health Education and Recreation in Ontario, and he helped establish the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations, more commonly known as OFSAA, the provincial high school athletics league.
Wright moved on to become the first National Director of Fitness and Amateur Sport and then worked trying to make Canada the best athletic market in the world. He was one of the founding fathers of sport, not just within Ontario but across the nation.