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Jack Neumann (University of Calgary) – Lifetime Achievement Award
by Dave Reed, Colorado College Associate Director of Athletics Communications/CoSIDA Special Awards Committee member

When Dr. Dennis Kadatz, then the athletics director at the University of Calgary, suggested Jack Neumann attend his first CoSIDA workshop (convention) in 1980, it was impossible to predict the profound impact the adventure would have for Neumann.

Neumann set aside the era’s tools of the trade – a rotary phone, typewriter and lots of WhiteOut – to travel to Kansas City in an effort to comply to his boss’s instruction to become the best sports information director that he could be.

“I was scared and apprehensive about not knowing anyone when I arrived at the Alameda Plaza Hotel,” Neumann said. “I was in the registration line with Nick Vista, who turned around and introduced himself. Moments later, Rosa Gatti comes by and Nick introduced me to her. It was like winning the lottery.”

That chance encounter with two CoSIDA legends — Vista is the award-winning retired Michigan State and CoSIDA Hall of Famer while Gattis is a former SID and ESPN executive, CoSIDA Hall of Famer and multi-award winner — is a perfect example of what made Neumann successful throughout his career. He had a penchant for being at the right place at the right time and he valued personal relationships above all else.

Personal connections were the lynchpin to Neumann’s remarkable 40-year career because he understood the value of the relationships he would make with colleagues, student-athletes, alumni and administrators.

“I took a cut in pay and lost my stock options, all for the opportunity to work longer hours,” Neumann said. “I made a great decision.”

Neumann has long been CoSIDA’s unofficial “Canadian Ambassador,” and will receive a CoSIDA Lifetime Achievement Award at the organization’s June 2018 Convention. He served admirably as sports information director with the University of Calgary Dinos for nearly three decades (from 1978 to 2007) and then was in alumni development for Calgary Athletics until his official retirement in 2012.

Neumann credits his friendships with CoSIDA Hall of Famers George Wine and Don Bryant, the (retired) sports information directors at the University of Iowa and the University of Nebraska respectively, for providing valuable professional opportunities and experience.

Wine introduced Neumann to the importance of service to CoSIDA by adding him to the Allied Organizations Committee. Bryant provided him valuable professional advice while they worked together at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

Since then, the affable Neumann, who earned CoSIDA’s 2012 Warren Berg Award for outstanding college division contributions to the profession, has served the organization on several committees, and also served a three-year term on the board of directors.

Neumann also was a founding member of Association of University Sports Information Directors and president of the group for two years.

A native of Saskatoon, Neumann unofficially began his career as a high school sports information director without knowing what the position was. It all began when a teacher asked him to be the public address announcer for the basketball team and then asked him later to phone in scores to the conference commissioner. It was something Neumann had been doing for the Saskatchewan Minor Hockey Association.

Displaying a keen sense for how to fulfill his duties more effectively, he bypassed the commissioner and called in scores directly to the editors and on-air personalities. It was no coincidence that Neumann’s teams received the best coverage.

Another occasion where the stars aligned for Neumann was at a holiday party in 1978, where he met Joyce Fromson, the SID at the University of Calgary, who was relocating to Winnipeg. She told Jack to give her a call at the beginning of the week to discuss the position, and that led to him being hired by Dr. Kadatz as the university’s first full-time sports information director.

Hearing about the position at a social function was especially appropriate since Neumann played a prominent role in a pair of once-in-a-lifetime athletics events in The Stampede City.

Dr. Roger Jackson, a Dean at the University of Calgary, was a prominent figure in the Canadian Olympic Association, which led to Neumann being involved in the 1988 Winter Games.

One day, Dr. Jackson told Neumann that Juan Antonio Samaranch, then president of the International Olympic Committee, would be visiting Calgary and ‘you are in charge of the press conference. Notify the media. No mistakes.’

While Neumann did not play a role in Calgary being selected to host the Olympics, it was his brainchild to bring the 2004 CoSIDA Convention to his hometown.

Nearly 500 CoSIDA colleagues ventured north to experience the best of what Western Canada has to offer, which that year included seeing its native son become the first Canadian SID inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame.

“Having CoSIDA in Calgary and Canada was a dream come true,” Neumann said. “It was an honor to host many of my colleagues in my city and country. Everyone who came loved it and the feedback was tremendous. Entering the Hall of Fame was extra special since it occurred in Calgary.”

After his career in sports information came to a conclusion a few years ago, Neumann continued to serve his school as its alumni fundraiser, or as he prefers to call it, the ‘friendraiser.’ 

“Jack Neumann is synonymous with the Dinos Athletics program at the University of Calgary,” said Dr. Elizabeth Cannon, now president of the University of Calgary. “During his 39 years on campus, he has shown unwavering support for our student-athletes as a mentor, career counselor and fundraiser. And even in retirement, Jack remains a loyal supporter and volunteer within Dinos Athletics.

“Through his personal example of commitment as our Sports Information Director, Alumni Relations Coordinator, and an all-around Dinos supporter, Jack has inspired our students to grow to their full potential — both as athletes and as individuals.”

And giving back to his revered university is something Neumann continues to do. This past November, Neumann established a legacy fund at the University of Calgary to cover future uniform costs for the Dino Football program. Neumann will pay for all football players’ jerseys in perpetuity. He does however have one non-negotiable condition — that the uniform scheme remains the same, his beloved scarlet and gold. 

"I always wanted to leave something that is different," said Neumann, quoted in stories around the announcement. "There's a certain amount of pride in it, yes, but I believe in giving back. The university was good to me — I had a great career there. I made some life-long friends there."

When a revered colleague receives a Lifetime Achievement Award, the first reaction is to list all of the awards he or she received during their illustrious career.

It’s nearly impossible to detail every award CoSIDA’s unofficial Canadian Ambassador has received, however it should be noted that Neumann is the organization’s only member to enter the Order of the University of Calgary as well as the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. He also is the first-ever SID to receive the Austin Matthews Award for his contributions to Canadian university sports.

For Neumann, however, his many awards and honors are not as valuable as the friends he has made throughout the last 40 years — friendships and relationships jumpstarted as he stood in line to register for his very first CoSIDA workshop.

Canada's Sports Hall of Fame article: Olympian and visionary Canadian athlete, Cheryl Bernard, announced as new President & Chief Executive Officer

New Leadership at Canada's Sports Hall of Fame
Olympian and visionary Canadian athlete, Cheryl Bernard, announced as new President & Chief Executive Officer 

On behalf of the Board of Directors and Canada's Sports Hall of Fame team, Robert Rooney, Chair of the Board, is pleased to announce Cheryl Bernard as new President & Chief Executive Officer of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. Ms. Bernard will be assuming her new responsibilities on June 18, 2018.

"Canada's Sports Hall of Fame is proud of the role it plays to inspire Canadians - in sport and life." explained Mr. Rooney. "Cheryl is the living embodiment of our mission and we are confident her exceptional career in sport and business will ensure Canada's Sports Hall of Fame is recognized as a unique and important Canadian experience that unites and inspires the best in us."

"An added advantage is that Cheryl is a dedicated community leader and believer in what sport can teach us." continued Mr. Rooney. "She understands our values and shares her message proudly in that 'what you get by participating in sport is not as important as what you become'. This profound focus points towards an exciting future."

Ms. Bernard has extensive experience in business and in sport and leveraged those experiences to become a corporate keynote speaker, sports ambassador and as an expert TSN Broadcast Analyst. A published author, Ms. Bernard speaks authentically about sport and promotes its value and impact through numerous charitable initiatives. She was founder, owner and president of a successful Calgary-based insurance agency for 13 years before focusing her attention on building an elite curling team, winning the Canadian Olympic Curling Trials in 2009 and the right to represent Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

"Canada's Sports Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving and celebrating Canada's impressive and inspiring sport history in an innovative experience that breaks the mould," stated Ms. Bernard. "What you learn from sport, integrity, work ethic and teamwork builds values that contribute towards great individuals, communities and nations. I am excited and honoured to build on this platform as we continue to evolve."

Canada's Sports Hall of Fame board partnered with Boyden to lead the Chief Executive Officer recruitment.

For more information, please contact:
Janice Smith
Interim President & CEO 
Phone: 403.776.1061

Marina Montgomery
Marketing & Communications Manager
Cell: 403.437.0939


Article from Global News: Legendary Alberta hockey coach Clare Drake has died

Former Alberta Golden Bears hockey coach Clare Drake passed away Saturday at the age of 89.

The team sent a message on Twitter Sunday, saying: “It is a sad day for Golden Bears Hockey.  Last night we lost Coach Drake. At this time we would like to extend our condolences to his wife Dolly and the rest of his family.  “What Clare Drake did for the game of hockey is truly staggering,” the team wrote. “You will never be forgotten Coach.”  

Drake coached the University of Alberta Golden Bears hockey team to a record 697 wins, 17 conference titles and six University Cup championships.  Drake also coached the Bears football team, and in 1967-68, he became the only coach in CIAU history to lead both a football and hockey team to a national title.  In 1972, he coached the Canadian Student National Team to a silver medal at the World Student Games.

He coached the Canadian National Hockey Team in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.  Drake coached the Edmonton Oilers of the WHA in the mid-1970s and was an assistant coach in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets in 1989-90.  In November 2017, Drake received hockey’s highest honour when he was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in the builders category. His grandson Mike Gabinet accepted on his behalf.  “I know gramps believes you get more fulfilment out of life if you contribute something bigger than yourself and it’s great to see him being honoured for that here tonight,” Gabinet during the acceptance speech.  Drake was honoured with many other accolades including inductions into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, the Order of Canada and the Edmonton Sports Hall of Fame.  The university also has an arena named in his honour.

News of his passing spread quickly on social media, with many sharing memories of the legendary coach.




Article from Edmonton Journal: Life and Times: Sports psychologist always positive while getting into an athlete's head

After he was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2006, educator, coach and sports psychologist Murray Smith said the voters had kindly overlooked that “I was mediocre as an athlete.”

Smith’s self-deprecating analysis forgets the fact he was a wide receiver on the 1947 University of Alberta Golden Bears football team with another kid named Peter Lougheed, who was a running back and would one day carry the ball as premier of the province.

If Smith, who passed away on Feb. 26 at 92 years of age, never graduated to the pros as an athlete, he had so many other skills and interests. 

He could be found in the front row of many a jazz club, he counted the late Tommy Banks as a good friend. He went to Oxford for his post-doctoral work, he taught Inuit kids how to swim after going to where they lived.

He taught high school at Strathcona Composite with Hockey Hall of Famer Clare Drake before they both were hired by U of A dean Maury Van Vliet at his phys-ed faculty in 1958. Smith coached the junior football Edmonton Huskies and coached swimming and football at the U of A.

He later gave psychology advice to famous young pros with the Edmonton Oilers from 1990-94, again jokingly saying “a lot of them are very sensitive and if they have a guaranteed three-year contract for $15 million you have to be very careful how you talk to them.”

He loved working with juniors in Kelowna and Kamloops, B.C., in the Western Hockey League as a sports psychologist, many whom would go on to be NHL players. He worked until he was 84.

Smith was born Aug. 5, 1925, in Dauphin, Man., the second of six children. He moved to Edmonton in the early 1930s and went to school at Eastwood, which would later become Eastglen High School. In 1948 he married Rean Elston, a fantastic dancer, and they had a full house, looking after six kids:  Bruce (construction engineer at NAIT), Murray Jr. (school principal), Devon (school principal and now a school psychologist), Carla (wine merchant), Cameron (advertising in Dallas) and famous dance artist Peggy Baker, who was bestowed the Order of Canada.

Smith graduated from the U of A in 1948 with an education degree and did post-doctoral work at UCLA and in England before starting his multi-faceted teaching career, never stopping his learning as associate dean academic from 1958-89.

He was a wise, interested and interesting man whom Drake’s wife Dolly Drake said was very much a mentor to her husband. Same goes for former Bears’ hockey equipment manager Derek Drager, who said he was forever indebted to Smith for his help on Drager’s excellent book on Clare Drake, The Coaches’ Coach.

“Murray helped Clare with his coaching philosophy. The Golden Bears’ toughness list of what a Golden Bear athlete should be, how he should compete on and off the ice. Ten or 12 things. They developed that list and I actually put the list on my son’s wall when he was young. It was a part of life,” said Drager.

Smith had an infectious laugh, he tooled around town in a sporty black car with tinted windows as he got older, wearing a black leather jacket and dark glasses.

“He was a cool guy,” said Drager. “He always used to say, ‘Be cool and do what you gotta do.’”

“I really do think Murray was kind of a renaissance man,” said Larry Dufresne, a defensive back, high school track coach, accomplished painter and assistant coach on the 1980 Golden Bears team that had Smith on the staff as running backs coach. They won the Vanier Cup as best college team in the land.

“With the Bears, Jim (head coach Donlevy), Clarence (Kachman) and myself all had big egos and Murray came in and developed rules for the players and the coaches. We’d be arguing on the field at the start of the season and he’d say, ‘Look guys we have to change this right now.’ The reason we won the College Bowl in 1980 was because Murray was a sports psychologist.’’

“Murray’s strength was talking to individuals not teams, though. It was that way when he worked with the Oilers too, getting into the nitty gritty of what a person is about,” said Dufresne.

As a sports psychologist, Smith hated coaches of all persuasions who berated athletes like college great Bobby Knight at Indiana. He felt athletes responded considerably better to positive reinforcement and he always preached that.

He tried to live that philosophy too. Concerned with a spate of drownings, he organized a barge to travel to the Northwest Territories so residents could take swimming lessons. “He got this barge with a pool on it and he’d stop at an inlet and teach kids how to swim. It was part of the Red Cross, a really innovative way to do it,” said Murray Smith Jr.

Former Oilers equipment manager Barrie Stafford had Smith as his professor at the U of A when he played hockey for the Golden Bears.

“I remember distinctly that the Golden Bears’ players would change their course load at the beginning of a term to make sure they took Dr. Smith’s courses. He had a certain approach to teaching that was different than any of the other professors. Treated everybody like they were adults. Down to Earth,” said Stafford.

“More than anything, Dr. Smith was a humble, kind person. I always looked at him as my grandpa. He had a way with people. You have a lot of professors in school but he stands out for me. He helped changed my life. That’s a gift if a teacher can do that,” said Stafford.

Smith’s wife Rean died Jan. 13 at 89 years of age. A celebration of the couple’s life was held April 21 at the Derrick Golf and Winter Club. 



We're all set up at the 2018 #WHLAwards happening TONIGHT in Red Deer! Stop by the table and check out some amazing artefacts!