Flynn, Fracas make it into the Hall of Fame

By Justin Seward

The Canadian Football Hall of Fame announced its new inductees during Hall of Fame Week in Calgary on Sept. 14-17. The likes of Danny McManus, Joe Montford and legendary coach Don Matthews were among the ranks. For the first time in decades, two football legends, Chris Flynn and Gino Fracas, were recognized for their accomplishments.

Flynn starred for the St. Mary’s Huskies in Halifax from 1987 to 1990 and is the only Canadian Interuniversity Sport player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“Chris is the only player in CIS history to win three straight Hec Creighton Trophies and he did it in four seasons,” said Michel Belanger, manager of communications and media relations for the CIS. “People have [asked] 20 years later why CFL teams didn’t give him a shot. He was one of the most dominant players in CIS history.”

There has not been anyone to break Flynn’s three straight MVP wins, but some players have came close. “The closest one would be Eric Lapointe. He won in 1996 and 1998. Some people said he could have won in 1997, but he was injured. There are a couple of players that came close to Chris [Flynn],” said Belanger.

“Flynn would have added to his records if he would have stuck around for a fifth CIS season,” he said.

Although it has been 20 years since he dazzled football fans across Canada, Flynn has changed the culture of football in Canada and has put CIS on the map.

Gino Fracas, who recently passed away, was inducted for his contributions as a CIS coach. “He’s more of a builder than a coach. He was the very first coach at the University of Windsor when they started up their program,” said Belanger. “He was a teacher and has the respect from former players and colleagues and was a professor.”

Fracas was nominated in the builders category, a category strictly for individuals who have contributed to the development of football by building CIS football programs.

“Gino [Fracas] had longevity, as he coached for a long time, and he also won two Yates Cups with the Western [Mustangs] as a player,” said Belanger. “He led the University of Alberta to three league championships in four years and led the Bears to the Vanier Cup in 1965.”

The legacy lives on with both of these icons in football. Fracas and Flynn both made a huge mark on Canadian football history.

“We are thrilled that [Fracas’s] legacy will carry on through his induction into the Hall of Fame,” said Gord Grace, the University of Windsor director of athletics, in a Sept. 16 press release. “He was an icon at Windsor and his contributions to the sport of football were truly outstanding.”

The Canadian Football Hall of Fame has many greats inducted, but for CIS players and coaches to be mentioned under the same breath as McManus and Matthews is an honour.

“That’s huge and people have to remember it’s the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and not the CFL Hall of Fame,” said Grace. “It was a huge statement bringing back the Canadian Football Hall of Fame as junior players and amateurs will be inducted.”

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