It’s been more than 25 years since McGill’s Redmen football team captured its last national championship, but a record donation from an alumnus and longtime supporter could well put the team on track to recapture its former glory.
Robert B. Winsor, BEng’62, who helped lead the University to the national Yates Cup championship in 1960, and his wife Susan made a $1.5-million gift to Campaign McGill to establish the Bob and Sue Winsor Redmen Football Program Endowment, providing much-needed funding for coaching, player recruitment and program development.
The gift, the largest ever made to a McGill varsity sports team, has already started to bolster the outlook for the team’s fortunes on the field. The new and improved Redmen were able to attract a number of key recruits, including Shaquille Johnson, who was named Canadian Interuniversity Sport rookie of the year. And after going winless in four of five seasons, the team scored two wins last fall and fell just short of two others in the final minute of play.
“We view this as an investment in the future of the program and are thankful for the opportunities this donation will provide,” says Head Coach Clint Uttley.
The Winsor gift has also given the team a kick off the field. Prior to the endowment, McGill had primarily two full-time coaches on a football coaching staff of 10, while other teams in the Quebec conference had between three and seven full-time coaches. This past season, the Redmen had 4.5 full-time coaching positions. The result has been an instant and significant ability to recruit top student-athletes like Johnson.
“It is my belief that McGill, as part of its recognized leadership role, needs to offer the opportunity for student-athletes to compete on top-tier competitive teams,” Winsor says. “We see our gift as an opportunity to make a solid investment to this end for the varsity football program at McGill.”