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The leadership and athletic skills that this Dryden High School graduate and valedictorian learned in his hometown, led him to an over 40 year athletic building career, and the status as one of the most well respected and successful track and field coaches in Canada.

Following a decade of teaching and coaching in the Toronto high school system, he made the jump to the University of Toronto, becoming that institutions first ever full time track and field coach in 1971. At U of T for close to 25 years, his legacy with the Varsity Blues included 65 Ontario and 10 Canadian University titles in outdoor and indoor track and field and cross country events.

Instrumental in establishing the first ever Canadian Track and Field High Performance Centre at U of T, his innovative style also saw him pilot the concept of a shared coaching position, a practice used widely today in the university system.

A noted coach from the high school to the world level, from the 1960s to the 1990s, his dedication and talent produced a number of international level athletes and Olympians, including decathletes Dave Steen (1988 Olympic bronze medallist) and Michael Smith (1991 World silver medallist). His impressive coaching abilities led him to serve as the decathlon coach for Team Canada, at 4 Olympic, and 4 Commonwealth Games, between the years 1976 to 1992.

A strong believer in the importance of organized coaching, he was a founding member and former President of what is now known as the Canadian Professional Coaches Association. Demonstrating his ongoing desire to provide tools to support the development of young people, and get across his message that good can become better and that best is possible, he authored the book Best Coaches, Best Practices.

Winning numerous awards over the years, he was named the Ontario Male Coach of the Year in both 1989 and 1990 and in 2001 earned entry into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame. This exceptional builder continues to have an impact on the lives of athletes in his current position as the Director of the National Coaching Institute Ontario.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 24, 2005

Andy Higgins

Track and Field
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