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 Thanks to UWindsor’s first football team, three student-athletes will receive the Gino Fracas Memorial Football Scholarship in a presentation at the football season home opener, Sunday, 30 August.Thanks to UWindsor’s first football team, three student-athletes will receive the Gino Fracas Memorial Football Scholarship in a presentation at the football season home opener, Sunday, 30 August.

Alumni of 1969 Lancer Football team picked up the ball for head coach and are still running with it

Frank Renaud, Travis Durocher and Jonathan Langley are three student-athletes who will receive an academic scholarship of $4,000 each in a presentation at the football season home opener, Sunday, August 30, 1 p.m., at Alumni Field, thanks to UWindsor’s first football team.

Spearheaded by the 1969 Lancers champions, the Gino Fracas Memorial Football Scholarship for football student athletes, honours their head coach Gino Fracas, who passed away in 2009 shortly after the team’s induction into the Alumni Sports  sport hall of fame in 2008.

“The group wanted to recognize Fracas’ role in the development of leaders with solid ethics, character, scholastic and athletic achievement.” says original team member Mike Scime, “We started with awarding two inaugural scholarships in 2010.”

In 2012, Ed Orsini, John Purcell, along with Scime and the support and assistance from  ‘69 football alumni, George Short, and Phil Payne, joined forces with current Head football coach, Joe D’Amore to organize and run the annual Gino Fracas Memorial Golf Tournament with proceeds used to fund the scholarships.

As a result, since 2010, 16 scholarships have been awarded totaling $60,000 and total revenues in excess of $100,000 have been generated and directed to initiatives to support the current football program.

Windsor fielded its first team in 1968 supported by an enthusiastic and determined group of students in the 1960’s who initiated the Football Now campaign, a grass-roots effort by University of Windsor students interested in establishing an intercollegiate football program.

At the time, the University Senate was allegedly informed that students were not in favour of this initiative, and a protest ensued.

According to Scime, the protests prompted a passionate group of students to scale the Ambassador Bridge in the early morning to hang, on the best quality sheets available from St. Michael’s Residence, the Football Now symbol, a football with the word “Now” inside. Subsequently Lancer Football was launched in 1968, under the guidance of coach Fracas.

Though that team lost every league game that season, except for an exhibition game against The Royal Military College, the following season, the Lancers went from worst to first.

“In 1969, with the some key additions to the 1968 team, we defeated the Bishop’s University Gaiters to win the CCIFC (Central Canada Intercollegiate Football Conference) Championship,” says Scime, “and advance to the final four in the Churchill Bowl in Winnipeg.”

There, the University of Manitoba Bisons defeated the team the eventual winners of the 1969 College Bowl, now The Vanier Cup.

To date, the 1969 team are the only UWindsor Football team to win a championship, “an honour we eagerly look forward to relinquishing”, says Scime.

“The hard work and determination that our team exhibited in 1969 is clearly evident here today,” says Scime, “but none of this would have been possible without the generosity of so many people, some that knew Gino but many more who never met him.”

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