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ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Andy Nezan, Golf
Behind every good man there’s a good woman…
There just may be a grain of truth to that observation, line for a song or whatever its background.
Take the case of Rivermead golfer Andy Nezan, winner of the Association Canadian Travellers athlete of the year for 1964, and at 37 years of age, the oldest to be voted to the honour.
Nezan began taking up the game seriously when his wife gave him a set of clubs for his 21st birthday.
He admitted the gift had made her a long standing member of the “golf widow’s club” in good standing. “But,” he added, “now that she is not working she plays more golf than I do.”
Nezan, who first came in contact with the game as a caddy at the Hunt Club in younger days, posted five victory scalps, sufficient enough to sway the voters. They were the first of two Quebec Amateur crowns, the city and district medal play and tournaments at Cornwall, Carleton Place and Cornwall.
“I couldn’t believe I had won with all those good athletes around, and me only a golfer,” recalled Nezan. As proof that his selection was no accident, he won the Julien D’Aoust counterpart to the ACT honour.
Nezan also has competed at the international level, joining the Canadian Golf Association four-man team for a match against American and British rivals in Southampton, England, in 1983. Dinner voters plucked Nezan out of a field of 23 athletes from 22 sports. Included were previous winners All Salter and Rev. Bill Hare, the pistol packing parson from Renfrew on my other stops.
SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR
Les Newman, hockey, baseball, softball
St. Pius High School has a trophy named the Michael Newman Memorial Trophy, which goes to the graduating student best combining academic excellence, scholastic and positive contribution to the school community.
The award dates back to the early 1960s and was presented to the school, then boys only, by the late Les Newman in memory of his son who was killed in a car accident. Minimums are an average of 75 percent, participation on one interscholastic team plus the contribution to school community.
That last section well fits the trophy donor, who was recognized by the Associated Canadian Travellers special award winner for 1964 and an understandable qualification in selection of the winner.
His story goes back to the 1940s and the Greek Canadians softball nine. He moved over to baseball with Rideau juniors later to become the Montagnards. He also watched over hockey teams from peewee to juvenile in St. Mary’s Parish.
He and ex-NHLer Connie Brown set up their own version of Little League Baseball with the help of the Optimists. They set up a four-team uniformed circuit. Newman was also behind the formation of the Little Knights Softball League for 8-to-12 yearsolds in the Fairmont Area.
The last year (1963) has seen him serve as coach in the Fisher Park Little League Baseball program and help Fred Marquis in guiding a number of teams in the Cradle Hockey League program. They ranged from mosquito to minor bantam.
Baseball — John McLean
Basketball — John Callaghan
Bowling — Wally Souchen
Curling — Helen Hanright
Cricket — Allan Mayers
Equestrian — Donna Bisson
Figure Skating — Marc LeBel
Football — Bob McCarthy
Golf— Andy Nezan
Hockey — Ron Ellis
Lacrosse — Jacques Robert
Paddling — Rudy Ziegler
Sailing — Peter and Avis Jefferson
Soccer — Peter Durens
Softball — Bill Timlin
Shooting — Rev. Bill Hare
Skiing — Heather Quipp
Speed Skating — Gerry Cassan
Tennis — Carol Stevenson
Trap and Skeet — C. H. (Cup) McCreery
Track and Field — Dave Ellis
Weightlifting — Allen Salter
Harrier runner Dave Ellis was boxed in by a peculiar situation in 1964… He had another Ellis, hockey player, Ron of Toronto Maple Leaf fame in the ACT lineup and in the track and field rankings was another Dave, though their paths never crossed… Ottawa’s Ellis was a 400-800 metre runner and Toronto’s Ellis ran everything over a mile… Deadline pressures, we’ll wager, had more than one editor confuse the two. Gerry Cassan had just passed his 10th birthday when he got his first ACT sports award from baseball great Elson Howard… Footballer of the year was Commerce High School’s Bob McCarthy who went on to a CFL career with Ottawa Rough Riders and Calgary Stampeders… He was part of the Pete Liske, Terry Evenshen air show, something the Stamps could have used the last couple of seasons… The Ex-pro is helping Ottawa Sooners maintain their junior football dynasty these days… Carleton’s John Callaghan was basketball player of the year. He was the kingpin of the Ravens which relied on outside shooting of players like Tom Gorman and Cliff Lebrun.