York community honours ‘Coach Cos’

lions football player

Some 150 enthusiastic supporters packed into The Carlu in downtown Toronto on Friday, May 11 to honour York University’s ‘winningest’ coach, Frank Cosentino, and launch the next era of York football.

Those attending the event took the opportunity to look back at the remarkable career of  “Coach Cos”. Donors raised more than $190,000 in support of the football program, with a significant portion dedicated to supporting our football student-athletes.

Frank CosentinoFrank Cosentino 

Cosentino is a former Grey Cup-winning Canadian Football League quarterback, the author of 15 books and the retired coach for York University’s football team. In 1978, he led the men’s football team to their first victorious season. Though Cosentino is most frequently remembered for his winning coaching strategies that brought the Yeomen (Lions, since 2003) to 25 victories, guests also recognized his off-field contributions.

“He taught me to do everything I could to get ready to play for my team. And he also taught me that I should be prepared for my life,” said former offensive lineman and York Yeoman Steve Shubat. “My education was on the field and with Frank.”

The reception, which was emceed by Sportsnet anchor Evanka Osmak and attended by football legends Angelo Mosca and Michael “Pinball” Clemons, was also an occasion to announce the establishment of two new football awards: The Frank Cosentino/Yeoman Football Award and the Cynamon Family Football Bursary.  David and Stacey Cynamon, along with The Traveller Inc., Karrys Group, NFL Canada, Bill Hatanaka, HJ Heinz Canada and Stikeman Elliott sponsored the event.

“The evening was an incredible tribute to Coach Cos, and a fantastic rallying point to start building a new tradition in the York football program,” said York University’s Director of Sports & Recreation Jennifer Myers. “The tremendous success of the evening speaks volumes about the pride of our alumni and the excitement they have about Coach Craney and his new vision for York football.”

The York LionsThe York Lions

Craney, who took over the position in 2010, does not shy away from Myers’ high expectations. “I came to York to build a championship program, and that is what we are going to do,” he said. Craney’s first recruiting class had more than 50 new members and the team earned their first Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) victory under his leadership.

But creating a winning football program involves much more than training excellent athletes. “For a school to have a successful football program it takes great commitment from not only the players and coaches but also the administration, the alumni and the student body,” said York University Champions Club Chair Ron Ferguson.

It’s a challenge Coach Craney is ready to meet. “Part of a championship program is having engaged and involved alumni and we will continue to build that,” he said.

Whatever the future holds for York football, the coming season is off to a winning start. “The Coach Cos dinner accomplished something in one night that I was hoping we could rebuild over time,” said Craney. “Having our alumni be a part of the process of building a championship program is paramount to us and I believe we took a monumental step towards that goal.”