indsor Lancers Track and Field head coach Dennis Fairall can now add the title ‘hall-of-famer’ to his long list of accomplishments.
He’s already the most decorated head coach in all of Canadian University Athletics, and on May 30, he was named to the Windsor Sports Hall of Fame.
“I was surprised and shocked,” said Fairall. “It is a great honour to be inducted into the hall of fame. When you consider the sport leaders such as Jerry Slavic and Bob Boughner, athletes like (Olympic semifinalist) Andrea Steen, it is considered an even greater honour.”
Lancers assistant head coach Brett Lumley wasn’t so surprised by Fairall’s induction into the hall of fame.
“He is that calibre of a coach. I think it is fantastic,” said Lumley, who has been coaching alongside Fairall since 1999.
“I was a very happy for Dennis,” Lumley added. “I thought it was great for him to be recognized. He shies away from accolades. First thing he said, ‘It is an award for the entire team.’”
Working with one of the most successful head coaches in Canadian university athletics has its advantages. Lumley sees it as a privilege.
“Dennis took me in with little coaching experience. I’ve learned quite a bit on how to manage athletes and the team. I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
Lumley points to Fairall’s leadership and dedication to the team as a factor which puts him in the upper echelon of effective coaches.
“There is so much to learn from Dennis. He gives amenity to all the coaches. He expects athlete to perform well and expects the coaches to perform well. He has an expectation of success.”
In his 26 seasons as head coach, Fairall has received numerous awards and achievements recognizing his leadership and dedication, but he ranks this recent induction high on his list of accomplishments.
“This is an award for (the entire program),” said Fairall, who during his tenure he has led Windsor to 24 CIS championships and 43 Ontario provincial titles.
With all those wins comes many fond memories for Fairall.
“I remember our first ever OUA Championship in 1991; that was sweet,” Fairall said. “Actually, we were close the year before and one athlete who pulled a hamstring and was on crutches asked me if he could compete in crutches. That wasn’t wise nor possible, but it showed the Lancer spirit that was instilled in all athletes on the team.”
Lumley counts the Lancers’ numerous championships among the team’s greatest accomplishments.
“Our accomplishments are that we keep winning national and provincial championships, especially when we’re not expected to,” said Lumley.
Never to rest on their laurels, Fairall and the rest of the coaching staff are already looking forward to next season and a potential 25th CIS Championships title.
“We hope to continue to offer a good academic-athletic mix for our student athletes and strive for continued prominence at the OUA and CIS.”