The 2014 recipient of the Connellan Team Award is one of the most respected High School football coaches not only in Calgary and Alberta but in the country. A graduate of the University of Calgary, Coach Gary De Man coached the St. Francis Browns for 32 consecutive years beginning in 1962 and culminating in 1993.
Not only did Coach De Man win numerous championships on the field, he influenced many young players coaching them not only in football but educating and mentoring numerous young men having a positive influence on their careers.
During his tenure at St. Francis Coach De Man encouraged many of his players to pursue post-secondary education at the University of Calgary with numerous becoming members of the Dinos football program. Several of his former players have followed his steps and have become coaches both in community and high school football programs in Calgary and surrounding area. When Gary De Man recommended a player for post-secondary football, you knew you were getting a player who had the fundamentals and came from a program with great values.
Some of the players that joined the Dinos from St. Francis that were coached by Coach De Man included the Tom and Tony Spoletini, the Geremia brothers, the Lewis brothers, Joe Stambene, Remo Cardone, Dennis Mahony, Rod Monden, Shaun DeSantis, Marcello Rapini, Steve Pozzi, Patrick Mosca, Rob Scrauth, Brian Baker, Dan Diduck, Chester Krala, J.P. Izquierdo, and Rob Furlan to name a few.
Gary De Man earned numerous honours throughout his career. He was the recipient of the Alberta Achievement Award for Excellence in Community Service in 1981, the Alberta Amateur Football Coach of the Year in 1971, 1981, and 1986, and the 3M Coach of the Year for Alberta in 1992. He was given a life membership by Football Alberta in 1993.
Coach De Man was honoured by the Calgary Booster Club receiving a Distinguished Leader Award and in 2012 was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. His former players thought so much of his contribution and influence that an endowed scholarship is in his name for a St. Francis High School graduate to attend the University of Calgary was created in 2011. Recipients of this prestigious award include Steven Lumbala and Carson Stambene.