Ex-CFL coach and player Chuck McMann has died at age 70. (Submitted photo)

Ex-CFL coach and player Chuck McMann has died at age 70. (Submitted photo)

Former CFL player, Grey Cup champion Chuck McMann of Qualicum Beach dies at age 70

‘He was a wonderful father and grandfather, as well as a great friend and neighbour’

Former Canadian Football League player and coach Chuck McMann, a resident of Qualicum Beach, has died at age 70.

According to his neighbour and friend, John Wood, McMann collapsed during a bike ride on Hornby Island on July 20.

Wood said McMann and his wife Margaret were celebrating their anniversary biking the Islands of Denman and Hornby.

Born in Toronto on May 11, 1951, McMann had stellar football career with Wilfrid Laurier University from 1973 to 1976. A third-round draft pick of the Montreal Alouettes in 1976, he played 10 seasons in the CFL as receiver and running back with the Alouettes and Concordes from 1976 to 1985. He won a Grey Cup ring with the Als in 1977.

Following his retirement as a player, he became the head coach at the University of Waterloo from 1988 to 1991. He then went on to work as assistant coach in the CFL with the Calgary Stampeders and B.C. Lions, where he played a key role in helping both teams win the Grey Cup – two with the Stampeders and one with the Lions.

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McMann then became the offensive co-ordinator and head coach at McGill, leading the team to five playoff appearances, including Dunsmore Cup league championships in his first two years. He was awarded the Frank Tindall Trophy as Canadian University Football coach of the year in 2002.

“Chuck’s passion for football and coaching was second to none,” said Neil McEvoy, B.C. Lions co-GM/director of operations. “He also brought a classy and professional approach to the Lions organization, those of which we made sure we’re emulated throughout the entire club. The Lions organization was truly better for having Chuck around for a long period of time. Our thoughts go out his wife Marg and their entire family at this difficult time.”

“I am deeply saddened to hear of Chuck’s passing,” said Stampeders president and general John Hufnagel, who served for five years with McMann on Buono’s staff. “He was a great man and a great coach and he will be sorely missed. My condolences to Chuck’s wife Marg and the family for their loss.”

McMann is survived by Margaret, his wife of 46 years, daughter Kristin, sons Jeffrey and Jonathan, in addition to eight grandchildren.

“From my perspective, not only was he a good football player and coach with four Grey Cup rings, he was a wonderful father and grandfather, as well as a great friend and neighbour,” said Wood, adding “he was always friendly, always willing to lend a hand or a tool, and perpetually smiling. He participated in all the neighbourhood activities. He also volunteered at the Salvation Army Food Bank, and at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington.”

Wood also remembered McMann would work every year at the seniors centre in Qualicum Beach on the Grey Cup party on game day.

“With his connections, most recently to the B.C. Lions, he was able to get tickets, jackets and other giveaways and raffle prizes – and he’d wear one or two of his Grey Cup rings,” said Wood. “He never made a big deal about being a retired football player and coach, he was just plain folk.”

In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested a donation to any of his favourite charities, including St. Stephen’s United Church in Qualicum Beach, Hockey Ministries International, North Island Wildlife Rescue, Parksville Salvation Army Food Bank or Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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