It’s a night to honour one of the all-time greats when the University of Saskatchewan Huskies take the field Friday at Griffiths Stadium.
Brian Towriss, one of Canada’s most legendary football coaches, will be celebrated by the program he helped build into a perennial Vanier Cup contender for more than three decades.
“It’s certainly nice to be recognized for the work that went into a 35-year career for sure,” Towriss said. “But it’s also going to give me an opportunity to thank a bunch of people that were instrumental.”
Friday’s game against the Calgary Dinos is just one part of a weekend dedicated to Towriss’ career.
A pregame ceremony will honour him before kickoff Friday evening. The Huskies Football Alumni Club will celebrate the coaching legend at the Saskatoon Field House Saturday. Brad Wall and TSN’s Darren Dutchyshen will host an evening that includes celebrating the 20th anniversary of the 1998 Vanier Cup champions.
Towriss first crossed paths with the Huskies as a player in 1974, eventually taking on an assistant coach position in 1980. By 1984, at the age of 27, Towriss was named head coach.
As Towriss’ career progressed, the wins and the attached memories piled up.
“There are maybe too many to count, really,” Towriss said of his favourite memories as coach. “We had a tremendous run here, a lot of success over the years.”
“Many of the big playoff games at Griffiths Stadium, the national semifinals and the Hardy Cups, those are some of the more fond memories.”
Towriss left the program prior to the 2017 season with 196 wins in 315 games coached. Of all his wins, there are two that stick out above the rest.
“Certainly the first national championship when we beat a great St. Mary’s team,” he said of the monumental victory. “Some guys that had worked for four years to progress to get to that point and win the school’s first national championship in 1990.”
“The second one was the national semifinal in Ottawa where we came back from behind to earn a birth in the Vanier Cup that was hosted in Saskatoon that so many great volunteers did a fantastic job of hosting a game in really inclement weather that year.”
Towriss left the U of S as the winningest coach in Canadian university football. He surpassed Larry Haylor in 2011 to top the list with his 170th win. His career culminated in a Canadian Football Hall of Fame induction in 2017 as a builder.
Even though he admittedly misses the day-to-day coaching and comradery with players, Towriss doesn’t miss everything about being a football coach.
“I don’t miss not getting home before 10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m. every night.”