Stability is one word that describes the head football coaching situation at the University of Calgary. In a half decade the school has had just six head coaches.
On Saturday October 1 the University of Calgary was pleased to have five of their six Head Coaches present for the 50th Anniversary game against the University of Alberta Golden Bears at McMahon Stadium.
“It is not very often one can get all these outstanding men that have meant a great deal to the football program together,” stated University of Calgary Dinos 5th Quarter alumni development coordinator Jack Neumann. The only Head Coach missing was Blake Nill, who is now the Head Coach at UBC. Nill coached the team from 2006 through 2014 prior to leaving for Vancouver.
The program was started by Dr. Dennis Kadatz, regarded as the “Father of the Program,” in 1964 when the University of Calgary was known as the University of Alberta at Calgary, with the school getting independence from the University of Alberta in 1966. Kadatz was the first Head Coach as well as the inaugural Athletic Director. Dennis coached the team for the first five years in what then known as the Western Intercollegiate Football League. Dennis also served as an assistant coach the next head coach Mike Lashuk in the 1970’s including the 1975 team.
Kadatz gave way to Lashuk in 1968 as the athletic department grew. Lashuk coached the team for 13 years relinquishing the position in 1982. Under Lashuk the Dinos won their first Conference title in 1975 and played in their National Championship game losing a tough 14-9 decision to the University of Ottawa. Lashuk posted a record of 56-52 at the helm. Lashuk also served one season as an assistant coach under Tony Fasano for one season.
Peter Connellan took over as Head Coach on an interim basis in 1977 while Lashuk was on sabbatical leave. Connellan was no stranger to the program having served as an assistant coach for several seasons under Lashuk. Connellan led the team to their second Conference title in 1977 and became the fulltime Head Coach in 1983. Peter coached the Dinos for 11 seasons (1983-90 and 1992-95). Under Connellan the Dinos captured a quartet of Vanier Cups (1983, 1985, 1988 and 1995) and lost in the final of 1993 championship game to the University of Toronto. Connellan amassed an impressive record of 70-32-2 (67.3%) and posted a 16-6 log in the postseason missing the post season on three occasions. He never had a losing season in his 11 year tenure as head coach.
Tony Fasano took over reigns in 1996 coaching the Dinos until 2005. He also coached the team while his predecessor was on sabbatical leave in 1991. Fasano joined the program in 1986 serving as Defensive Coordinator until 1995. He was on staff for the 1988 and 1995 National Championship teams. Fasano’s clubs made post season in six years as Head Coach.
Current Head Coach Wayne Harris is in second year at the helm with the Dinos. No stranger to the program Harris played for the Dinos from 1977 to 1981. He has the unique distinction of either coaching with or playing for each previous head coach with the program. He served either as an assistant coach or a defensive coordinator with the program in three different stints from 1989 through 2014. He has the unique distinction of winning both the Frank Tindall Trophy (Canadian Interuniversity Sport Coach of the Year) in 2015 and the Gino Fracas Award in 2006 as the CIS Volunteer Coach of the Year. He served as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator with Nill since 2006 replacing Nill as the head coach in February 2015.
The football Dinos were honored to have these five gentlemen present together and appreciate the effort all of them did for the program.