Hall of Fame
Vic Matthews (1996)
Inducted as a Builder - Friday, September 27, 1996
Vic served as the Coach of the Cross Country team (1965-76, 1980-86) and of the Track team (1969-1976, 1981-84). During his tenure, Matthews coached 4 CIAU Individual Champions, 4 OWIAA Individual Champions, 6 OUAA/OQAA Individual Champions, and 32 Meet Champions. Vic also coached Guelph to the 1969 OQAA and CIAU Championships. His team also won silver medals at the 1980, 83 and 85 OWIAA Championships, the 1980 CIAU Championships and the 1971 OUAA Championships.
Memoriam of Vic Matthews
On Sunday, November 28th, Vic Matthews passed away. It was very sudden and shocking news. Vic has been a part of the local running culture for decades. He was a former coach of the Cross-country Gryphons from 1965-76 and 1980-86 and the Track team from 1969-1976 and 1981-84. During his tenure, Matthews coached 4 CIAU Individual Champions, 4 OWIAA Individual Champions, 6 OUAA/OQAA Individual Champions and 32 Meet Champions. Vic also coached Guelph to the 1969 OQAA and CIAU Championships. In addition, his team won silver medals at the 1980, 1983 and 1985 OWIAA Championships, the 1980 CIAU Championships and the 1971 OUAA Championships. In 1996, Vic was inducted into the Gryphon Hall of Fame in the builder category.
Even though most of his achievements took place some time ago, Vic never lost his passion for, or involvement with, the sport. He continued to coach a large group of local road runners and made it out three or more times each week, in every season, to provide guidance and feedback. He always showed up at Gryphon meets and would be the first person to call out with encouragement.
Dave Scott-Thomas has this to say about Vic, “His moral sense was very strong - something that meant a lot to me in the world of sport. He did things for the simple effort of trying to get better at them and to push himself and the people around him to fire up their passion to excel. Vic was a strong influencer and a shoulder for me to lean on. I'll miss his support and his presence at our events; I'll miss a kind and generous man."
The Gryphon program has Vic and his family in their thoughts.
And from the Mercury
Editors Note: The service is at 11:30am Friday at the Gilchrist Chapel, not at the Cemetery) as quoted below.
From: GUELPH (Nov 30, 2004) Guelph Mercury
The tight-knit running community of Guelph has lost one of its longest-standing members.
Vic Matthews, a runner, coach and fan on the local running scene for 40 years, died of a heart attack Sunday morning. He was 63.
Mr. Matthews was a former cross-country and track and field coach at the University of Guelph where he was head of the classics department. (Victor Matthews UoG School of Languages & Literatures MCKN Rm:243)
In addition he coached countless runners in the community over the years.
"He was a huge part of the growth of running in this city," said Dave Scott-Thomas, the current U of G cross-country and track and field coach who knew Mr. Matthews for 20 years. "I don't know anyone who knew him who didn't like him."
Scott-Thomas said Mr. Matthews was still an active runner and was still coaching a group of 30 to 40 masters (over-30) runners in the city.
"He was hardcore into the sport and just a straight-up good guy," Scott-Thomas said. "You could go by the St. James track any Tuesday in the summer and he'd be there with a group of runners with a stopwatch in his hand. He always had a running group going."
Scott-Thomas said that if there was a race anywhere in the area, you could expect Mr. Matthews to show up.
The current Gryphon coach recalled being at the world junior cross-country championships in Belfast, Northern Ireland, two years ago and looking over to find Mr. Matthews standing there.
"Belfast was his hometown so he figured he'd take a holiday and see the running at the same time," Scott-Thomas said. "I had no idea he was going to be there."
Mr. Matthews taught classics at the U of G for 40 years and was due to retire in two weeks.
After completing his own schooling in his native Ireland, Mr. Matthews came to the U of G to begin teaching. He also began coaching the Gryphon cross-country team in 1965 and the track team four years later. During that time his charges included future Olympians Grant McLaren and Sylvia Ruegger.
He finished coaching in 1984 and in 1996 Mr. Matthews was inducted into the U of G's Gryphon Hall of Fame in the builders category.
Local masters' runner John Marsden was currently working with Mr. Matthews and said he was set to coach four local teams at this weekend's Canadian Masters Championships in Toronto.
"He had this remarkable memory," Marsden remembers. "He knew more about people's running than they did."
Marsden said Mr. Matthews gave his time and expertise willingly and without compensation to those who wanted to learn from him.
"He encouraged and respected those who worked hard, regardless of their natural speed," Marsden said.
Mr. Matthews is survived by his wife Irene and son Tom.
Visitation is Thursday at the Gilchrist Funeral Chapel from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Burial will is to take place at Woodlawn Cemetery Friday at 11:30 a.m. and will be followed by a luncheon at the Cutten Club.