Ottawa Citizen

Publication: Ottawa Citizen
Edition: Final
Section: Sports
Page: F7
Date: 07-15-2000
By: Martin Cleary
Story Type: Sports; Obituary

Matt Anthony had a simple approach to football -- be tough, but be fair.

That philosophy was never more evident than in his coaching career as he produced successful university teams in his three decades on the sidelines.

Anthony, who also was a capable player with two Grey Cup appearances and one Canadian Football League all-star selection, died of cancer on Thursday. The Ottawa businessman was 79.

An offensive end, Anthony helped the Ottawa Rough Riders win the 1951 Grey Cup over Saskatchewan. He also appeared in the 1948 Grey Cup, when Ottawa lost to Calgary.

The year after starting his CFL career with the Montreal Alouettes in 1946, the St. Catharines product became an Eastern Conference all-star. After two years with Ottawa, Anthony joined Saskatchewan for the 1949 and 1950 seasons. He returned to Ottawa in 1951 for his final three seasons.

``He was a good, honest player,'' said Jack Dunlap, an Ottawa teammate in the 1950s who later became the Rough Riders general manager from 1978-82. ``He gave his best all the time.''

That attitude followed him into coaching in 1954, when he signed his first contract with the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees for $100. He lasted 15 years as head coach, and when he left the program in 1969, the year before the Gee-Gees' first national championship game, he had built a record of respect.

``He was very tough ... and yet fair and really honest,'' said Allan McLean of Perth, a two-way lineman for Anthony's Gee-Gees from 1954-56. ``He was straight up, a rugged individual.''

In the 1960s, he turned the Gee-Gees into a powerhouse with six conference titles and four unbeaten seasons.

In 14 Panda Games, he had an 11-3 record, including nine wins against Carleton University Ravens coach Keith Harris.

``Matt loved to play really tough football,'' Harris said. ``He had a ground game and would grind it out. If he could ram it down your throat, he would. He was a good recruiter. I used to feel he got all the tough kids from Sandy Hill and I got all the polite kids from the west end.''

Anthony also coached the Ottawa Sooners in 1971, and at St. Pat's High School.

``He was a tremendous guy and loved by all the players,'' said Jim Chiarelli, who played for Anthony from 1963-66 and later succeeded him as coach of the Sooners in 1972. ``His philosophy was few plays, well executed and beat the crap out of the other team.

``He wasn't just a football coach, but a personal human being with a big heart.''

Anthony, who also won a national title in junior basketball and a North American gold medal in high school rowing, is survived by his wife, Molly, and children Darryl, Pamela and Valerie.

Visitation is tomorrow at Tubman Funeral Homes on 3440 Richmond Road from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The funeral is Monday at 11 a.m. in the chapel.


¿ 2000 Ottawa Citizen