Queen’s Phil Roberts receives 2016 Gino Fracas Award
Queen’s University football coach, Phil Roberts earned the 2016 Gino Fracas Award, presented to the U Sports Assistant Football Coach of the Year, on Thursday night at the All-Canadian Banquet Presented by Sun Life Financial.
Phil Roberts has been the special teams coordinator at Queen’s since joining the Gaels in 2013.
“Canadian university football has relied significantly on quality volunteer assistant coaches to deliver varsity football programs on all of its campuses for more than a hundred years,” Pat Sheahan, head football coach at Queen’s University said. “The list of previous Gino Fracas winners chronicles coaching excellence over several decades and Queen’s University is pleased to have another great coach added this year.”
“We salute Phil for a great career and a great run at Queen’s. It has been said, that an organization is only as strong as its volunteers – the legendary Gino Fracas would have been proud of this one!”
Phil, a retired teacher, enjoyed a nearly 40-year career as both an educator and football coach, having worked 12 years in the PSBGM in Montreal and 19 years in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.
“Phil was a career educator in both Montreal and Ottawa for thirty-two years where he mentored and guided literally thousands of young Canadian students as they transitioned from high school to future walks of life.”
Based in the nation’s capital, the past four years he’s commuted the roughly two-hour drive, each way, between Ottawa and Kingston three days per week so that he could help coach the Gaels.
Phil’s accomplishments as a coach date back to 1979, however, he may be best known for his tenure as head coach at Vanier College in Montreal from 1987-91. There he produced championship teams and literally dozens of outstanding athletes that went on to star in the NCAA, CIS, NFL and CFL.
His U Sports coaching tenure began, prior to his time at Vanier, as a linebackers coach with Concordia from 1984-’86. From 1992-’94, he moved on to serve the same role at the University of Ottawa, in addition to taking on the special teams duties. From 1995-’98, he moved across town to serve as defensive coordinator at Carleton. From 2000-’03, he returned to Concordia as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
After serving as a part-time assistant coach in the CFL, Roberts returned to the university ranks as defensive coordinator with the University of Ottawa from 2004-2008. He served his third term at Concordia from 2008-’10, prior to joining the Gaels.
“Phil’s career at Queen’s caps a stellar thirty-seven-year coaching career that began with the Laval Scorpions, of the Quebec Juvenile League, back in 1979, followed by three great seasons with the Verdun Maple Leafs and Montreal Jr. Concordes of the CJFL,” Pat Sheahan added. “Phil has been a pillar of Canadian university football for the better part of the past four decades as a volunteer [university] coach who conducted himself, at times, as though he were a full-time contributor.”
Roberts is married to his high school sweetheart, Sue, who herself is also a career teacher and coach. Phil and Sue have been married for the past 38 years and have four children – three daughters (Amy, Meagen and Michelle) and one son (Abraham).
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About the Gino Fracas Award
This award is named to honour a man who has made a lifetime of outstanding contributions to amateur football. Gino Fracas moved right into a coaching role after his days with the Edmonton Eskimos with the University of Alberta head coach position. He led them to three league championships in the next four years. In 1963 his team won the Golden Bowl, the unofficial university National Championship and he also appeared in the very first Canadian College Bowl in 1965.
He was highly respected and admired for his dedication and commitment to the great sport of Canadian football. 2011 proves to be another great accomplishment by Gino, almost two years after his passing Gino was entered into the CFL Hall of Fame on September 17th, 2011 under the builder category.
The award created by Football Canada to pay recognition to the assistant coach that provides endless hours to improve the experience for the players and to support the other coaches. This award will ensure we continue to be able to recognize Gino’s legacy within the game of football as it also continues to recognize the contribution of the assistant coach.
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