Football Alberta is proud to announce the winners of the following Coach/Official/Volunteer Awards for the 2022 season. Each person recognized has been informed and will be receiving a commemorative plaque from the Football Alberta office. Please note that the Norm Kimball Coach of the Year Award goes to the overall coach of the year in all disciplines in Alberta.
The Global TV Edmonton’s Sports Department (and its precursor ITV) have been on the air in Edmonton since 1974. During that time, they have covered a lot of sports including the highs and lows of Edmonton’s professional sports teams. However, all the reporters who have come and gone over that time have never forgotten that sports at the grass roots level can also provide stories about what makes athletics great and why we love it so. To that end, they have always been open to doing stories on amateur football and working with the production staff to do a professional job in creating a memorable story every time. Their coverage of past Alberta Bowls, Senior Bowls, Selection Camps, and other relatable stories from amateur football (i.e. Chuba Hubbard) have been fantastic and ensure that we are treated the same way the Oilers and Elks are. The fact that Global TV has the only sports department remaining on Edmonton’s channels speaks volumes to the job that the current staff do on Channel 8. Truly worthy recipients as a group, for all past, present and future deeds, of the Rob and Grace Zittlau Media Award.
Brendan Dolan has been officiating football games for over 30 years in the province of Alberta. Currently in Calgary where he has served as the Officials Association’s president for the past three years, but also known for his work in Edmonton during the 1980’s and the Grande Prairie area in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. While in Grande Prairie, Brendan was selected to work the 1999 Vanier Cup, which is very rare for a rurally based official. While both in the Mighty Peace region and now in Calgary, Brendan has taken on a mentorship role of working with new referees as their umpire and continues to work over 50+ games a year. This has significantly improved the education of newer referees and continues to pay dividends for the CFOA. A true leader in the sport and well deserving of being named the Alberta Official of the Year for 2022.
Coach K, as Kailum El-Kadri is known, puts in hours of work as the offensive coordinator for the junior team at Ernest Manning High School, all while working two jobs and attending university full time. As a 19-year-old he is only in his second year of coaching but has the demeanor of a veteran and work ethic to match. His commitment is unmatched having never missed a practice or game for the Griffins despite not owning a car. His efforts in support of the whole program are greatly appreciated and he helped the junior Griffins to a spot in the Division I semi-finals. A great example of a young coach who loves the sport and is giving back in spades early on in his career. Kailum El-Kadri is an excellent choice for the Novice Coach of the Year in 2022.
Nathan Geib is in his fourth year with the Atom Tigers of Sylvan Lake. Over those years he has quickly become recognized as one of the best youth coaches and mentors in Central Alberta. Known for treating all of his players equally—regardless of their talent or ability to contribute on-field—he has also formulated off-season get togethers for his teams which help build culture in the football community as a whole in Sylvan Lake. The capper to all of his involvement has been that in the four years he has headed up the Tigers they are undefeated in all of their competitive opportunities. A great coach and solid mentor for young football players, Nathan Geib is the co-winner of the Atom/Pee-Wee Coach of the Year Award for 2022.
Lance Kelly is a true renaissance man in the area of youth football. Not only serving as the head coach of the Atom program in Okotoks, he also works hard at promotion of the game in his community via the local media as well as on social media platforms. During a time when getting kids back in the game post-pandemic has been a struggle in some areas of the province, Lance’s development program for the Pee-Wee team has skyrocketed in enrollment and bodes well for the continuation of the game south of Calgary. Known for his tremendous commitment to his team, Lance is a great example of someone who continues to give back to the sport and see great results. Another excellent choice as co-winner of the Atom/Pee-Wee Coach of the Year for 2022.
The only head coach the Medicine Hat Hawks bantam program has ever known since it was created in 1998 is stepping down this post-season. But what a way to go out. Scott Howes is known for his attention to detail and doing the little things to ensure a great experience for his young players. Post-game barbeques, win or lose, and ensuring kids just starting out in the game are welcome have developed a great culture for the Hawks and in three of the past four seasons where provincials were contested, Medicine Hat has finished the season as the Tier II Provincial Champions. This included last year’s victory at home in the Provincial Tier II Final vs. a strong contender from Lloydminster. A fitting way to end a coaching career for a great coach whose dedication and excellence will be missed in the Medicine Hat region. Scott Howes, the 2022 Alberta Bantam Coach of the Year.
The Lions’ year saw them solidify themselves as one of the top small school programs in the province. Making it to the final of both the Wheatland and ASAA Tier IV Championship Games is quite an accomplishment in itself. However, it’s the work being done at all levels of the game in St. Paul that sets Mark and his staff apart. St. Paul puts out strong, well supported, programs at all levels and the strength of the high school program is seen in the work done with the minors who in 2022 also won the Provincial Bantam 9-a-side Championship. The Lions’ march to the ASAA Tier IV Title Game was impressive as they took down top Tier IV competition in highly ranked Sexsmith and Ardrossan to get to the Championship vs. Drumheller. That game was probably the best contested match over the weekend with the Lions putting together a 5-minute drive to score the tying touchdown only to see the Titans do the same and kick a rouge with less than a minute left to win 21-20. Despite the loss, the Lions are here for the long haul and no one is more responsible for their success than their head coach - Mark Tichkowsky - the 2022 Tier IV Coach of the Year.
The offensive and defensive coordinators for the Holy Rosary Raiders respectively did a masterful job in 2022. Working hard both on and off the field, this duo assisted the Raiders in putting together a 12-1 record with their only loss coming at the hands of Calgary Division I Champion Ernest Manning in pre-season exhibition play. During the regular season and playoffs, the Raiders scored 458 points and held their opponents to just 53. Most importantly, after years of trying, Holy Rosary finally hit paydirt in the post season winning their first ever Tier III Provincial Title with a dominating 44-0 shutout of the Strathmore Spartans. A great job by two great coaches and well deserving of the Tier III Coach of the Year award.
Coach Matt Hassett’s hard work in program development paid off again in 2022 as his Holy Trinity Academy Knights won their second Tier II Provincial Title in the past five years. This past season was particularly special as the Knights dominated from start to finish with the only blemish on their record coming at the hands of the eventual Tier I Brian Fryer Division Champion Raymond Comets. Matt’s teams are not only known for their on-field excellence but also their character and dedication to good citizenship off the field as well. The Knights carry a huge roster mainly due to the quality of the program attracting all comers at the high school. Each player is treated with respect and given a wonderful experience. And the pay off in 2022, the Provincial Tier II Title at the Alberta Bowl, is a great result for a great coach and his program. Truly worthy of the Tier II Coach of the Year Award.
In his fourth year of being the Griffin’s head coach, Coach Vujinovic took his program where no Ernest Manning team had gone before. After 59 years of existence the Griffins finally climbed the ladder and won their first Calgary Division I Title in their history. It takes a lot to run with the traditional powerhouses in Calgary Div. I, and many programs choose not to take on that challenge. Coach Vujinovic’s belief in his team and his coaching staff not only made it viable for the Griffins to do so, but paid off with a championship in 2022. Ernest Manning also earned a trip to the Brian Fryer Division of the ASAA’s Tier I playoffs where they would lose in the semi-final to the eventual champion Raymond Comets (a team they had tied in an exhibition game earlier in the year), but the dream of the Calgary Division I Conference Title was achieved and capped a great year for the Griffins and their excellent head coach, now Tier I Coach of the Year.
This season, Raymond high school had an unbelievable run to capture their ninth Tier I title since 1996 and their first Brian Fryer division championship. Avenging their only loss of the season, they overwhelmed a previously undefeated Harry Ainlay team 34-15 in the provincial final. On their way to that championship, they defeated perennial power St. Francis 39-0 in the quarterfinal then followed that up with a victory over the Calgary City Champion Ernest Manning (a team they tied earlier in the season) 48-6 in the semifinal. The team finished with a 10-1-1 overall record. This included sweeping rival L.C.I. as well as soundly defeating the Tier 2 champions, Holy Trinity Knights, 35-0 (which was the Knights only loss of the season). Coach Ralph’s team played with poise and grit in each of its games. They had a huge arsenal of plays on offense which kept opposing teams off balanced. On defense, there was not a better fundamentally sound unit in the province in both escaping blocks and tackling. Raymond played with confidence and a belief in themselves regardless of the opponent. This of course is even more remarkable considering they are playing schools with 8-10 times more students than their own school population. The intensity and effort showed by this season’s Comets was especially evident every time they stepped on the field. Raymond’s attitude of “play anyone, anywhere” is a great example for all football programs throughout the province. Under Coach Ralph’s leadership, The Raymond program has reached incredible heights and for his efforts he is the 2022 Alberta Coach of the Year!
Known as the “Johnny Appleseed” of 6-a-side football in the province, Corey Colwell wears many hats in his pursuit of development of the game at that level. Originally from Saskatchewan, Corey started teaching at tiny Breton High School in west central Alberta. From there he started a 6-a-side team and convinced a few other schools to join him and the introduction of 6-a-side began at the high school level. By 2011 over 20 schools were participating and 6-a-side was added as a Championship at the Alberta Bowl by the A.S.A.A. For the past few seasons he has served as the Commissioner of 6-a-side football and also worked at the Provincial level with Football Alberta’s U16 program. He has presented at several coaching clinics and never says no to helping out the next 6-a-side program starting out. For all his work behind the scenes it a pleasure to present the Gary Hobson Volunteer of the Year Award to Corey Colwell.
For over 60 years of contribution to the game, Jim Corchesne is one of Alberta’s most enduring treasures in the game of football. In 1962 Jim started his coaching career with Calgary Optimist Mitey Mite football for players aged 12 - 15. Then in 1963 Jim led a group that took over the operations of Minor football in Calgary and is the only remaining founding member of the Calgary Bantam Football Association. Jim continued to coach with the NW Stampeder team for another 6 years then moved the team to the NW area of Varsity and upon receiving new sponsorship renamed the team the Varsity Valliant’s. When Jim quit coaching in the mid 1970’s the team was known as the Wesmen, eventually re-named the Cowboys which they are today. Jim never left the CBFA and is currently the Sr. Vice President of the league and will be entering his 62nd year with the Association in 2023. Among all the other sporting groups that Jim has been associated with, minor football has been his greatest joy. Jim has been a superb mentor for many. Jim has also been named the Calgary Booster Club Sportsman of the Year in 2002 and was most recently awarded the Queen Elizabeth Platinum Jubilee Medal for Sports through the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. For so many reasons Jim is a very worthy recipient of the Football Alberta Life Membership / Hall of Fame award.
After over 40 years of manning the gates and collecting ticket revenue for Metro Edmonton High Schools, and CDMFA, and Football Alberta, Rob Keith is stepping down from his position. Over that time, Rob arranged for gate crews to sell tickets, collect the revenue, and control access to thousands of games in the Edmonton area. Through any kind of weather conditions, Rob’s people were there and nobody worked more games than the man himself. He could always be counted on to be there early, work professionally, and provide the receipts to the organization in question within a day, accounted for right down to the last nickel. Over the past 30 years any event in Edmonton that has been run by Football Alberta has had Rob and his crew manning the gate and he has even provided crews to outlying areas such as Red Deer when we run an event there as well. It is true that his position did get an honorarium for his efforts but that pales in comparison to how seriously he took his job in the face of horrible weather, unruly patrons, and ensuring that the group he was working for received the most revenue they possibly could. Football in Edmonton wouldn’t have been the same for the last four decades without Rob and he is most worthy of this honor.
Brian McCorquodale’s name is synonymous with excellence in football coaching in Calgary. Although never a teacher in the school, Brian coached at Bishop Carroll High School for 35 years. Starting in 1983 as an assistant coach, he was named head coach in 1991. As Bishop Carroll transitioned to an academic high school over his time there he still kept the flame of football alive and experienced great success, winning league titles in 1992, 1998, 2002 and 2011 before leaving the Cardinals in 2018. He was also heavily involved with community football working with the Bulldog organization, serving as head coach of the Atoms from 2001-2003, the Pee-Wees from 2005-2007 and the Bantams from 2012-2015, advancing to a Tier I Pee-Wee Provincial Championship game and winning a Provincial Tier II Bantam title along the way. Brian also served on the Calgary Spring League Board of Directors for 15 years starting in 2008. A great coach and mentor, he is truly worthy of induction into the Football Alberta Hall of Fame.
In 1995 a young teacher in Hanna at J.C. Charyk High School named Cam McKeage went to his administration about starting a football team in their school. 28 years later that young teacher has grown into a member of the school administration in Hanna but also has been the only head coach the Hanna Hawks have ever known. During his tenure, the team started out as a 12-a-side team and within two years, Cam had the Hawks in Provincials and by 1999 they made the Provincial Final at the Tier IV level. In 2012, with smaller enrollments, Cam shifted the team to the 6-a-side level and has had competitive teams ever since including winning the Provincial Title at that level in both 2018 and 2019 and finishing as finalists in 2021 and 2022. With some help from the pandemic, the Hawks were undefeated for over 1000 days between August 2018 and November 2021. Cam’s efforts have also been fruitful off field as Hanna now sports an artificial turf stadium complete with 6-a-side markings. A leader in the game for decades, Cam McKeage is an excellent addition to the Football Alberta Hall of Fame.
Jay Meraw’s contributions to the sport of football in Alberta were many during his tenure. As a high school coach at St. Joseph’s High School in Edmonton for 35 years he started strong winning Edmonton Division I in 1981. From there he continued to put out strong teams made even tougher by the changing demographics of his school and its transition to an academic individual learning center. Still, Jay persevered and the main reason St. Joe’s continues to have a football program to this day was because of his efforts. He also worked in community football serving as offensive coordinator with the Sherwood Park Bantam Rams from 1997-2001 during which time the Rams went to three Provincial Tier I Finals and won two in ’97 and ‘99. He also assisted with Alberta Summer Games teams from Zone 5 Black Gold winning two gold and a silver in his four tours of duty. However, it is for his infectious positive attitude that Jay will most be remembered. He made such an impression during his time as an All-Canadian linebacker with the Edmonton Wildcats from 1972-1976 that the “Wildcat Attitude Award” is named in his honor. A true behind the scenes hero for our sport in Alberta and a very worthy member of the Football Alberta Hall of Fame.
Bruce has served the sport of football in Alberta as an official for the past five decades before stepping away in 2021. His on-field accomplishments run the gamut from minor football games to the Canadian Football League. However, it is for his work at Football Alberta that he is most noted. Serving as Football Alberta’s VP of Officials from 2004 to 2021, Bruce was aptly described as the “Hardest Working Man in Football” for his tireless dedication to developing and supervising officiating in the province. His main duties were to assign, review, and evaluate all officials for any provincial level program in Alberta including the ASAA Provincials, Minor Provincials, the Alberta Summer Games, Senior Bowls, Bantam Bowls, etc. Without fail he would show up to all Football Alberta events and ensure that they were properly assigned officials, and that it was always a learning experience to make those present better at their craft. He was also the provincial liaison for officials for any national level event held by Football Canada in Alberta. His was a “volunteer” position but nobody in the history of the Football Alberta Board has logged more hours and miles than Bruce Schwieder did in his pursuit to make things better. Very worthy of being included in the Hall of Fame.