New enshrinement for a U SPORTS veteran
In a new initiative, Canada West has created a new hall of fame. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of collegiate sports they are inducting 100 people. Dick White, former long-time athletic director of the University of Regina, was one of those chosen. White spoke to just how much his induction on Sept. 11 meant to him.
“It’s an incredible honour. When I think they’re celebrating such a long period of time of university athletics in Western Canada and I’m one of the people in the first class to be inducted, I can’t say enough what a humbling honour that is for me. ”
In a press release, Canada West put forward the reason for the new institution.
“For the last century, organized university sport has been a central part of the student experience at institutions across Western Canada. Beginning with the University of Manitoba capturing the first Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (WCIAU) men’s hockey banner in 1919-20, student-athletes have been competing to reach their full potential in sport and the classroom, while enriching campus life.”
It’s legacy that White is glad to see memorialized.
“I think it draws attention to the history and we all tend to be [focused on] what’s going on today and I think it’s really important to remember the foundation that was provided from people, even well before my time, involved in CIU and involved in Great Plains Athletic Conference, some of the precursors to Canada West.”
Other recent inductees include the University of Alberta’s Gino Fracas and Calgary’s Peter Connellan. The person who had the most impact on White, however, was the first person inducted into the Hall of Fame, Val Schneider:
“He was football coach and athletic director at University of Saskatchewan and somebody who became one of my mentors in my early years at the U of R. And occasionally, because we’re with rival schools, we did have to bang heads every now and then. Val was also inducted as a builder, but Val could well have been inducted as a athlete or coach as well.”
“There are many other colleagues and I’m kind of waiting, like many others are, to see who else may be inducted, but I’m sure I have many good friends I know have the kind of qualifications to be inducted in this first class of a hundred as well.”
White’s list of accomplishments at the University of Regina is long, as evidenced by the lengthy biography provided by Canada West. He spent two decades as athletic director, presided over three national championships and seventeen conference championships. White was also on staff as the Rams transitioned from junior football to the collegiate ranks.
Outside of the gridiron, the Cougars increased their sporting offerings by five (cross country, women’s hockey, women’s soccer, swimming, and track and field). The Cougars also hosted a number of national championships and White held various roles at the national governance level, including five years as the national president. Can West further sang White’s praises in the announcement of his induction.
“Dick White spent more than three decades at the University or Regina, including a 20-year tenure as Director of Athletics, overseeing a period which saw the number of teams more than double.”
“After starting his involvement with Cougar athletics in 1981 working as an administrative assistant and later as an athletics coordinator, White took over as director of athletics in 1995.”
The Canada West Hall of Fame isn’t the only enshrinement White has been a part of. He’s also a member of the University of Regina Sports Hall of Fame, Regina Sports Hall of Fame, and Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.
“It’s always somebody else that makes the decision to have someone inducted and I’ve spent time ensuring that others have been inducted in some of the halls of fames you’ve mentioned, but I don’t think there’s anything, perhaps, more rewarding than to have your colleagues, the colleagues that you work with but you also compete against in the field of play, recognize your accomplishments. Because they’re the ones that really know the challenge of the position of being an athletic director and how difficult it is.”