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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

DON LONEY

Inducted in 1988

Member Details

Date of Birth: November 16, 1923
Place of Birth: Ottawa, Ontario
Date of Passing: June 19, 2004
Sport: Football
Member Category: Builder

Career Highlights

1946

Grey Cup - Toronto Argonauts

1950

Jeff Russel Memorial Trophy, Eastern Football Conference MVP

1951

Grey Cup - Ottawa Rough Riders

1959-61, 63

Atlantic Bowl - St. Francis Xavier University

1966

College Bowl - St. Francis Xavier University (national championship)

Honoured Member DON LONEY
Inspire

Story

Though he was a successful player in Central Canada, Don Loney is best remembered as the "Father of Maritime Football." It was as a coach, developing not only outstanding players and championship teams, but also Maritime football as a whole, for which Loney is best remembered. Though born in Ottawa, Loney and his family relocated to Montreal between 1936 and 1943, which is where he began playing high school football. He joined the Navy in the winter of 1942 and played for a number of service teams before seeing active duty. Loney was discharged in 1945 and resumed his athletic career, spending eight years in pro football as an all-star centre. In 1946, he was a member of the Grey Cup-winning Toronto Argonauts. The following season, he returned to his hometown and, for the next six years, was a fixture on the Ottawa Rough Riders squad, including the 1951 side that won the Grey Cup. Loney came out a one-year retirement brought on by a shoulder injury to play a final season with the Calgary Stampeders in 1954. He was a seven-time Eastern All Star and in 1950 won the Jeff Russel Trophy as the eastern football conference MVP. Loney retired from playing and from his career in the Navy, which lasted from 1943 to 1957, and assumed the position of head football coach at St. Francis-Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He quickly made the X-Men one of the dominant football programs in Atlantic Canada. During his tenure, his teams won nine conference titles, and six times (1960-63, 1966-67) they were awarded the Jewett Trophy as Atlantic football conference champions (the trophy was first established in 1960). They played in six Atlantic Bowls, winning four. But Loney's greatest achievement came in the 1966 Vanier Cup College Bowl, the then-invitational national championship game. On November 16, 1966, in front of 13,678 fans at Toronto's Varsity Stadium, the X-Men defeated Waterloo Lutheran 40-14 to win the Canadian intercollegiate football championship. Loney coached at St. Francis-Xavier until 1974, retiring with a record of 133 wins, 31 losses, and two ties Loney's success was due in no small part to his innovative coaching methods and his dedication to instruction. But his achievements were not confined to his own football program. He sought to develop the game throughout Atlantic Canada, ran clinics for coaches and officials, and encouraged Maritime universities to play teams from other parts of Canada. In 1959—indicative of Loney's efforts to integrate Maritime collegiate football within the national framework of university sport—he was instrumental in creating the Atlantic Bowl, Canada's first post-season invitational game, which eventually became a national semi-final game. Since 1973, the Atlantic Bowl MVP award has been named after Loney. He also assisted in the creation of a national championship game, the College Bowl, which still exists today as the Vanier Cup.


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