The Canadian Football Hall of Fame announced its 2017 inductions and among them is Brian Towriss, former University of Saskatchewan Huskies football coach of 37 years.
Towriss began his football coaching career in 1979, when he became the assistant coach of the Huskies, but his love for football began long before that.
“I played in high school and at the college level, and I was assistant coach for three years, and I certainly enjoyed the game,” Towriss said. “I don’t think at that time I ever thought I would spend the next 37 years as the head coach.”
After becoming head coach at the U of S in 1984, Towriss led the team to many successes, including nine Vanier Cup games and three national championships.
“I love the game, and once I got involved and was running the program, it became a passion, and we started to have a little bit of success,” Towriss said.
Aside from his passion for football, Towriss found friendship with the people that he worked with everyday.
“It was a very rewarding run, and a lot of it had to do with the people and support staff that we had around us,” Towriss said. “We were great friends, and they are outstanding people, so in that way, it was easy. I [loved] to go to work everyday, and we certainly got along well and had a good time doing it.”
Throughout his 37 years of coaching, Towriss has had many great moments to look back on. Among his favourites are the national championships and all of the home games.
“Probably my favourite moments were all the big games at the U of S at Griffiths Stadium. I think there [were] three national semi-finals, in particular — all ones that we won at home,” Towriss said. “Those were special moments, as was the Vanier Cup that we hosted in Saskatoon … Although we didn’t win, [it] was a thrill to go out to Griffiths Stadium with 13,500 people there in minus 25 degrees.”
After his long road of coaching the Huskies, Towriss has recently made the decision to retire.
“It was a couple years earlier than I thought I might [retire], but just at this point in time, there’s a new structure for athletics coming in at the university … and it just became apparent that it was the right time to move on now — when everybody else is starting fresh, rather than a couple years from now,” Towriss said.
Although he is officially retired, Towriss is not completely gone yet. He says that he will still be involved in Huskie football in different capacities.
“I look forward to the next stage, but I will still be involved in the game somehow,” Towriss said.
Along with Towriss, the others who were inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2017 include players Kelvin Anderson, Anthony Calvillo, Mike O’Shea and Geroy Simon, as well as the Calgary Stampeders’ president, Stan Schwartz.
“I’m humbled and honoured. It is a huge honour, and something I didn’t expect at this point in time. I’m very honoured to be included in that group,” Towriss said.
Towriss has spent his life so far dedicated to his passion for football. Although Towriss explains that football is hard on the body, he still believes that it is the best team sport there is.
“I think it’s the greatest team game out there. I love all team sports and all the values they teach you, but the thing about football is there’s so many different types of athletes who can play the game,” Towriss said. “A lot of people say it’s the greatest team game ever, and I believe that, because everybody has to contribute to be successful.”
Photo: Johany Jutras / Supplied