Larry Uteck entering Canadian Football Hall of Fame

Published in CBC July 16, 2020, written by Anjuli Patil

Larry Uteck, left, of the Montreal Alouettes, argues with an official after he was called for pass interference during the Grey Cup game in Montreal on Sunday, Nov. 25, 1979. On Thursday, July 16, 2020, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame announced Uteck would be inducted this year. (STF/The Canadian Press)

Larry Uteck will posthumously be entered into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame this year.

Uteck, a former professional football player, Saint Mary’s University coach and athletic director, Halifax regional councillor and member of the Order of Canada, died at age 50 in 2002 after being diagnosed with ALS.

“On behalf of the whole Uteck family, it’s an incredible honour. Larry worked so hard his entire life and he brought football back to life in Halifax,” said Sue Uteck, Larry’s widow.

Sue Uteck said she found out about Larry being inducted in March. She said she doesn’t know who nominated him, but she’s glad.

In its press release, the hall of fame noted Uteck’s many accomplishments, including being a four-time Atlantic University Athletic Association (AUAA) coach of the year and a two-time Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (CIAU) coach of the year.

“During his tenure, the team captured seven AUAA titles, three Atlantic Bowls (1988, 1990 and 1992) and appeared in three Vanier Cups,” the press release stated.

Saint Mary’s Huskies surround university athletic director Larry Uteck, centre, after winning the 37th Vanier Cup in Toronto in 2001. The Huskies beat the University of Manitoba Bisons 42-16. (Aaron Harris/The Canadian Press)

It also noted that as athletic director for Saint Mary’s University between 1995 and 2002, his team won two Vanier Cups and won four Atlantic University Sport conference championships.

The national semifinal game formerly known as the Atlantic Bowl was renamed to honour Uteck in 2003.

Barbara Uteck, Larry’s sister, said her brother loved football and loved coaching.

“We miss him, we miss Larry a lot,” she said. “But it’s wonderful to be reminded that people remember and want to honour him for his athletic prowess and for his devotion to being a coach.”

Because of COVID-19, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony for 2020 has been postponed until August 2021. Sue Uteck says she’ll be there.

“I think Larry would be humbled by the honour. Larry was a very quiet guy, very private so I think he would be a little bit embarrassed but privately thankful for this,” she said.

In addition to Uteck, Clyde Brock, Henry Burris, Freddie Childress, John Hufnagel and Greg Vavra were also named to the 2020 Canadian Football Hall of Fame class.