1976-77 Men’s Football Team

…First Acadia Atlantic Bowl Football Champions; Canadian finalists

The 1976 season was indeed outstanding for the Acadia Axemen Football Team as they turned in a 9-2 won-lost record. Winning the Atlantic conference for the second straight year, Acadia won our first-ever Atlantic Bowl Championship, a berth in the national College Bowl finals in Toronto and for Bob Stracina, the Hec Creighton Award as Canada’s most valuable college football player.

Three of the team made the Canadian All-Stars -Bob Cameron as the country’s number one quarterback, Stracina as wide receiver and Cliff Steeves as defensive back.

For Head Coach Bob Vespaziani, named top Atlantic Coach for the second straight year, it was yet another spectacular season, challenging odds that Acadia was not likely to make it this year .

The Axemen first won the AUAA league conference with a five-win, one-loss record. They went on to defeat St. Francis in the league playoffs to advance to the Atlantic Bowl against the defending national champions, the Ottawa Gee Gees. An exceptional job by quarterback Dave MacFarlane (filling in for injured Bob Cameron) was credited with getting the team into the Atlantic Bowl.

A dramatic 18-16 victory over the Gee Gees sent the Axemen to the College Bowl in Toronto where they were defeated by the University of Western Ontario Mustangs. To quote Halifax: sports reporter Terry O’Neil, “It was Acadia’s first national college bowl berth and it won’t be their last.”

Sharing in the honours for moulding Acadia’s exceptional roster, were associate coach Dan Palov and assistants Bill Primmerman, Tony Stewart, Andy Currie and George Coyle. Highly praised by their coaches, veterans John “Pinky” Stevens and Cliff Steeves, who had played together for four years and had been outstanding in their positions. They were co-captains with quarterback Bob Cameron who set three new records in the Canadian College Bowl.

Cameron was M.V.P .choice for the Atlantic conference, and in the national final, he chalked up a record 29 pass attempts with 17 receptions for 270 yards. Bob Stracina, became the second Acadia athlete in three years to be named as the most outstanding intercollegiate football player in Canada. At 19, he was the youngest player and the only sophomore to receive this honour since the annual presentations began in 1967. Stracina was Atlantic top scorer with 112 points in six league games and 153 points overall. Against Western he established two new Bowl records by catching 12 passes for 221 yards.

It is a distinct honour to welcome for induction to Acadia’s Sports Hall of Fame, members of the 1976- 77 Football Team.