Former York University Lions football player Ricky Foley, a defensive end with the Toronto Argonauts, was named the Grey Cup’s most outstanding Canadian following his team’s dominant 35 to 22 victory over the Calgary Stampeders in the 100th Grey Cup on Sunday.
Foley spent three years with the York football team from 2003 to 2005, and earned the award after recording four tackles, one fumble recovery and one sack for a loss of five yards in the championship game.
He was one of three former York football players to win the Grey Cup with the Argos on Sunday, joining star receiver Andre Durie and running back Jeff Johnson. Durie scored Toronto’s final touchdown of the game on a seven yard reception from quarterback Ricky Ray late in the fourth quarter, part of his three-catch, 31-yard day. For Johnson, a 13 year veteran of the Canadian Football League (CFL), including 11 years with the Argos, Sunday’s championship marks the second of his career – he also won the Grey Cup with Toronto in 2004.
Foley’s honour is another in a successful CFL career that began in 2006, when he was drafted fourth overall by the B.C. Lions in the CFL Canadian Draft. He went on to play four seasons with the Lions, winning the league’s Most Outstanding Canadian Award in 2009, and joined the Argos in 2010 after participating in multiple National Football League (NFL) camps.
During his time at York, Foley was named a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) second team all-Canadian in 2004, when he led the CIS with nine sacks, and was a two-time Ontario University Athletics (OUA) first team all-star in 2004 and 2005, and York’s male athlete of the year for the 2005-2006 season. He was a versatile athlete, playing five different positions for York, and as a member of the track and field team he broke a 27-year-old school record in the shot put and was at one time ranked fifth in the country.
His selection as the fourth pick in the 2006 CFL draft made him the second highest pick in York history behind Trevor Williams, who was chosen third by Winnipeg in 1984.
Durie was also with the York football program from 2003 to 2005 and is the greatest running back ever to don a York jersey. He holds numerous school records, including most rushing yards in a single season (1,367 in 2004) and most touchdowns both in one game (six) and in one season (16). His career average of 9.1 yards per carry is three more than any other player in the program’s history.
He has since made a name for himself as a standout receiver, and in 2011 was the recipient of the Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Award, which is given to a CFL player who best demonstrates the attributes that have always defined Canada’s veterans: strength, perseverance, courage, comradeship and contribution to Canadian communities.
Durie was a CIS first team all-Canadian in 2004, a two-time OUA all-star and York’s male athlete of the year for the 2004-2005 season.
Any rushing record not held by Durie is owned by Johnson, who was with York’s football program from 1996 to 1999 and remains the team’s all-time career rushing leader with 3,358 yards over four seasons. The recipient of the 1996 OUAA and Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (CIAU) rookie of the year awards, he is also third in program history with 6.1 yards per carry and second in touchdowns with 18.
Johnson was a two-time CIS second team all-Canadian (1997, 1999) and a three-time OUA first team all-star (1996-97, 1999), and graduated from York in 2000 with a degree in kinesiology and health science. He is now a member of the football program’s Champions Club.