Sport York honoured another six of its best athletes by inducting them into the University’s Sports Hall of Fame last week. Representing gymnastics, volleyball, field hockey and football, the 2005 inductees were feted at a dinner and induction ceremony held May 26 at the Montecassino Banquet Hall.
This year’s honourees included three gymnasts from the late 1970s and early 1980s when hall of fame member Tom Zivic was coach of Canada’s national team. Steve MacLean, now an astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency and NASA, attended the dinner along with fellow inductees Nancy (McDonnell) Gabriel and Dan Gaudet. Also from that era, volleyballer Mark Ainsworth and football player Angelo Kioussis were inducted, along with a field hockey player from the mid-80s, Sharon (Bayes) Speers.
Created in 1980, the York Sport Hall of Fame honours individuals who have significantly contributed to the interuniversity sport program as athletes, coaches and builders, and who have exemplified the spirit and ideals of York sports in their professional and community life.
A permanent hall, located in the link corridor between the Tait McKenzie Centre and the York Student Field House, was created in 2001 to showcase the outstanding achievements of all the inductees. Historical plaques were reconstructed to incorporate a new design developed for the hall when it was reorganized after a period of dormancy. The School of Kinesiology & Health Science is committed to sustaining the program so the accomplishments of former student athletes, coaches and administrators can be celebrated.
This year’s dinner was sponsored by RBC Financial Group, TD Meloche Monex, York Alumni and the Special Friends of Sport Yorkwho purchased tickets so that student athletes could attend.
Mike Cvitkovic, Sport York alumnus and hall of fame committee member, served as master of ceremonies for the evening. A former sports information officer at the School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Cvitkovic is now media relations coordinator with the Toronto Raptors Basketball Club.
Below are short biographies of each of the inductees honoured at this year’s ceremony.
Mark Ainsworth was a member of the York men’s volleyball team when it dominated the OUAA, winning three conference titles and advancing to three CIAU National Championship tournaments. The first blue-chip recruit for the men’s volleyball program, Ainsworth was a four-time OUAA All-Star and a CIAU All-Canadian in 1979-1980. A member of the 1977 Canadian national junior team, he is among York’s career leaders in kills, digs and service aces. Following his playing career, Ainsworth became involved in coaching and was appointed head coach of the Ontario provincial men’s team for the 2005 Canada Summer Games. He studied psychology in York’s Faculty of Arts and is now a high-school teacher with the Toronto Catholic District School Board. Ainsworth and his wife Sylvia live in Markham with their children, Graydon and Samantha.
Sharon (Bayes) Speers
Field/Indoor Hockey, 1984-1988
In four seasons as a goalkeeper with York’s field and indoor hockey teams, Sharon (Bayes) Speers was a four-time CIAU All-Canadian and five-time OWIAA All-Star. She backstopped York to the OWIAA field hockey title in 1984 and to silver medal performances in 1985, 1986 and 1987. In four trips to the CIAU National Championship, Speers was named a tournament all-star in 1984 and 1986, when York won a silver medal. York University’s Female Athlete of the Year in 1986-1987, she competed in two Olympic Games (1984, 1988) as a member of Canada’s national team. Speers studied psychology in York’s Faculty of Arts and now lives in Terra Cotta, Ont., with her husband Murray and their children, Kyle, Connor and Eric.
Angelo Kioussis spent four seasons as a defensive back with the York football team. A four-time OUAA All-Star, he was the first York football player to be named a CIAU All-Canadian. A team captain, Kioussis was consistently among the league leaders in tackles, interceptions and punt returns. He was the OUAA’s Top Defensive Player and the recipient of the Tom Pate CFL/CIAU Award (recognizing academics, football and community involvement) in 1979. Kioussis studied economics in York’s Faculty of Arts and is now president of the travel consulting company, The Traveller Inc.
(BSc ‘77/PhD ’83)
Gymnast Steve MacLean and his York teammates won five OUAA Championships and five CIAU titles between 1973 and 1978. At the national championships, he collected three gold medals including all-round champion in 1975-1976. In 1976-1977, he was a member of the Canadian national team and received the Murray G. Ross Award in 1977, the highest honour given to a York undergraduate student for academic distinction and notable contributions to campus life. In 1980, MacLean coached the York women’s team to the national title at the CIAU championships. MacLean went on to earn his PhD in physics at York and is a specialist in lasers. Now an astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency and NASA, he became the third Canadian in space in Oct. 1992. After several years in Houston, MacLean and his wife recently moved their family to Montreal. He is scheduled to fly into space again in Feb. 2006.
Nancy (McDonnell) Gabriel
(BA ’78, MA ’84)
Gymnastics, 1974-1975, 1977-1978
Nancy (McDonnell) Gabriel spent two years with the York gymnastics team and during that time she captured three CWIAU individual gold medals including all-round champion in 1977-1978. A member of two OWIAA Championship teams, Gabriel won five individual gold medals including all-round champion at the 1977-1978 OWIAA Championships. York University’s Female Athlete of the Year in 1977-1978, she competed in the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games as a member of the Canadian national team. McDonnell studied psychology in York’s Faculty of Arts and went on to earn an MA in Education.
Dan Gaudet, who was selected to the hall of fame in 2002, spent five seasons with the York gymnastics team. During that time, York collected five consecutive OUAA titles and four CIAU titles. At the national finals, Gaudet collected 10 individual medals including three all-round championships. At the OUAA Championships, he collected a total of 21 medals including four all-round titles. A two-time national champion, Gaudet competed for Canada at the 1984 Olympic Games.