HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
In the mid-1970s, a family vacation transformed into a volunteer vocation for Sandy Mackie, who would become a legendary men’s soccer coach at Carleton University.
A year after his wife and two children visited Canada, the former Glasgow policeman returned with his family, but this time for good.
Forty-six years later, Mackie will receive the ultimate honour this fall from Carleton when he’s inducted into the Ravens Hall of Fame along with athletes Matthew Fournier (rowing), Megan McTavish (nordic skiing), Mike Smart (basketball) and Scott Alexander (football).
The class of 2022, which will bring the hall membership to 56, will be honoured with a gala dinner during Throwback on Thursday, Sept. 22.
Mackie, who coached the Ravens men’s soccer team for 24 seasons (1992-2015) and achieved many notable moments, was humbled, when he recently learned about his upcoming hall of fame enshrinement.
“It’s a privilege. It’s an honour. I had no inclination that I had been recommended for this. It came as a surprise,” Mackie said in a phone interview on Tuesday.
During his almost quarter century with Carleton, he built many successful teams with his old-school style of coaching and had the respect of the hundreds of student-athletes who played for him.
“I never took a kid off the team for disciplinary reasons,” a proud Mackie added. “We were competitive. I brought in the standards that Bill (former head coach Thomson) had started.
“There was recognition that the (university) sport was growing. It was an opportunity for student-athletes to play at a competitive level.”
During his tenure, Mackie coached more than 350 regular-season and playoff games for the Ravens and oversaw probably three to four times as many practice sessions.
“(He) mentored hundreds of student-athletes and re-defined the program by establishing a level of professionalism, commitment and tradition that continues to this day,” said the Ravens’ Hall of Fame press release.
Mackie, 76, helped the Ravens to 191 wins in 270 games for a 0.709 winning percentage. When it came to making the OUA playoffs, his Ravens only missed that mark three times.
The Ravens won 11 OUA East Division championships, one OUA final and appeared in five Canadian university championship tournaments, winning the national silver medal in 2002.
Mackie also was a six-time OUA coach of the year and the national coach of the year in 2005.
He found selecting a couple of highlights from his coaching career at Carleton near impossible because there were so many good and positive moments.
In 1999, Carleton didn’t expect to earn a berth in the Canadian championship. But after defeating York University in the OUA final, the Ravens scrambled to make the trip to Victoria for the school’s first out-of-town soccer nationals. Carleton played host to the Canadian university championship in 1984 and won silver under Thomson.
Mackie said the soccer team had to borrow the men’s basketball team’s player warmup uniforms to wear for their games at nationals.
Overall, Mackie also praised the university’s administration for its support, which allowed soccer to become one of the most successful varsity sports on campus.
MATTHEW FOURNIER, athlete, rowing
A rower in the lightweight class, Fournier earned an astonishing 35 medals during his career from 2010-14, including 18 gold-medal showings. He was the 2013 and 2014 Canadian university rowing champion in lightweight men’s singles and the OUA gold medallist in 2014. His achievements earned him the 2014 OUA and Canadian university male rower of the year award. While at Carleton, Fournier represented Canada at the 2014 Commonwealth rowing championships and the 2015 FISU Summer Universiade.
MEGAN McTAVISH, athlete, nordic skiing
At the 2004 OUA nordic ski championships, McTavish was the women’s individual champion and helped the Ravens to the women’s team title, which also led to her being named Carleton’s female athlete of the year for 2003-04. She received that same honour in 2002-03. Her skills and success also earned her a berth on Canada’s team for the 2001 and 2003 FISU Winter Universiade.
MIKE SMART, athlete, basketball
A cornerstone of the Carleton men’s basketball program, he was a leader as the Ravens won their first three straight OUA provincial and CIS national championships from 2003-05. The 2003-04 season was his spotlight campaign as he was Carleton’s male athlete of the year, team MVP, the OUA male athlete of the year and an Ontario East Division first-team all-star plus the MVP and an all-star at the national championship tournament. As team captain in 2004, he was an integral part of Carleton’s 50-game consecutive winning streak, which spanned regular-season and playoff games.
SCOTT ALEXANDER, athlete, football
During his four seasons (1969-73), Alexander rewrote the Carleton record book, setting marks that still exist today, including his all-time career scoring total of 134 points. His single-season record of 10 touchdown receptions and 62 points is the backbone of his 22 career touchdowns, a mark which has been matched twice by other Ravens receivers. In the 1972 Panda Game against the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees, Alexander scored an 89-yard touchdown, which is the longest passing touchdown play in the game’s history.
GLEBE VYING FOR BRONZE MEDAL AT OFSAA GIRLS’ AAA RUGBY
The Glebe Gryphons will play for the bronze medal at the OFSAA provincial high school girls’ AAA rugby championship in Kitchener.
After winning two round-robin games on Monday, the Gryphons lost 12-0 to Mayfield in their semifinal on Tuesday. Glebe will play Oakville Trafalgar at noon Wednesday to decide the bronze and antique bronze medals.
Sacred Heart Huskies rebounded from two opening day losses to win their final two games at the OFSAA boys’ AAA field lacrosse festival in Mississauga.
The Huskies turned back St. Martin of Mississauga 11-1 and outscored Port Credit 8-4 in a placement game to finish ninth in the 12-school provincial championship.
In Owen Sound, St. Mark Lions were defeated in their final two games at the OFSAA A/AA field lacrosse festival.
The Lions fell to St. Mary’s of Owen Sound 13-6 and St. James of Guelph 10-7 to finish eighth overall.
St. Mark’s Tristan Caldwell tied for first in the individual point standings with 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points, while teammate Cameron Maunders had 10 goals and six assists for 16 points.
DABROWSKI, PEERS REACH ROLAND GARROS MIXED DOUBLES SEMIS
Gabriela Dabrowski of Ottawa and John Peers of Australia notched five aces and won 79 per cent of their first serves to capture their mixed doubles quarterfinal at the Roland Garros tennis championships in Paris.
Dabrowski and Peers defeated Gonzalo Escobar of Ecuador and Lucie Hradecka of Czechia 7-5, 6-2 to advance to the semifinals later this week.
Dabrowski is in line for her third career mixed doubles final, after winning the 2018 Australian Open and 2017 French Open championships.
GOLFER KURTIS BARKLEY REBOUNDS TO PLACE EIGHTH
Kurtis Barkley of Chesterville, ON., and the Cedar Glen Golf Course rebounded from an horrific first round to post the third-best second-round score and place eighth at the Golf for the Disabled Tour’s European Open in Hamburg, Germany.
Barkley, who lost in a playoff and finished second at the tour’s opening event, the Betfred British Masters, fired a two-over par 74 Tuesday to finish with a final score of 22-over 166. He shot a rare 20-over 92 in the cold opening round.
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 49 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.
When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Martin can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com and on Twitter @martincleary.
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