Cornwall Classics: A team of underdogs who became football titans

By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario – Sports fans relived the glory days of the most stunning season in local football history at the Cornwall Classical College “Classics” 50th anniversary reunion.

In 1964, the Cornwall Classics defeated the heavily-favoured Mont St-Louis Kodiacs to win the Quebec Intercollegiate Football League Championship and the Pierre Proulx trophy.

To mark the milestone, a press conference was held at Summerheights Golf Links Saturday, where Acting Cornwall Mayor Andre Rivette declared Aug. 30 “Classics Day.”

Team alumni Robert Marleau and Larry Gabri, head coach Gilles Leger, and captain Pierre Guindon reminisced about their championship season with family, friends, politicians, and special guest/former CFLer Moe “The Toe” Racine.

“The team had a great attitude and wanted to play football,” said Guindon. “We were ready to listen; they were ready to teach us. Most of us had never played football, but that year it gelled and everything fell into place.”

Marleau noted that each player had to maintain a 70 per cent grade average to be on the team. He credited the discpline instilled by the college as a major part of their collective success.

The ’64 Classics’ lineup, stacked with future sports talent, doctors, teachers, businessmen and civil servants, was armed with a secret weapon: their opponents thought they only spoke English.

Unaware of this advantage, the Kodiacs confidently strategized their plays within earshot of the Classics.

Experts were left flabbergasted at the win.

The championship game on November 15, 1964, was broadcasted live by CFTM (TVA). Former Cornwall Mayor Nick Kaneb and Stormont-Dundas MPP Fern Guindon travelled with the team to help that city celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Classics who went on to future success include Ray Perras, a leadership author and former assistant coach of the Ottawa Gee-Gees, and Bob Marleau, a chief clerk in the House of Commons.

Share this article