Burton Russell- 1957

Kentville native Burton Russell has been a sports enthusiast for as long as he can remember. A Kings County Academy graduate, he came to Acadia in 1954 and earned degrees in Arts ’57 and Education ’58 followed by a Diploma in Physical Education through Dalhousie University and the Department of Education.

For the first 10 years of his teaching career, Burton taught Physical Education at Cornwallis District, Central Kings, and Clarke Rutherford Memorial at CFB Cornwallis. For the next 25 years he served as high school English teacher at his beloved alma mater, KCA, and coached several high school sports -notably hockey. During this era he was named Coach of the Year twice and was awarded the John MacAskill Memorial Trophy on both occasions.

However, it is as a writer of sports history that Burton is best known. His eight books, have become standard references for Acadia University and the entire Nova Scotia sports community.

For many years, Burton has served on the selection committee for the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame and was a key person in the establishing of the Acadia Sports Hall of Fame in 1988. Since then, he has researched and written every citation with the exception of this one and one other. As resident historian he has intimate knowledge based on many years of collection, researching, and writing about Acadia’s athletes and several decades of observing them.

At least three prominent Acadia Sports Hall of Fame members have influenced Burton’s life: his high school principal at KCA was Wally Barteaux ’27; athletic director at Acadia ’39-’65; Major Fred Kelly ’38 and Jimmy Gray ’48 known to the press as “The Collegiate Clipper”. Without doubt Barteaux and Kelly became role models for Burton and Gray was an athlete whom he greatly admired.

Despite his success as an educator, coach, and author, Burton is basically a modest, almost shy individual who does not like the limelight. However, he is equally at home at a Shakespearean production at the ATF, a Fine Arts evening at Denton Hall, or a Varsity Hockey game at the arena. Burton is a “man for all seasons!”

When Burton retired in 1993, he was tendered “a night” here on the Acadia campus. In attendance were scores of former student-athletes, friends, and sports luminaries from around the province. The Master of Ceremonies, Pat Connoly thanked Burton on behalf of the sports writing and announcing profession, stating that Burton made their lives easier by providing such a compendium of records and resources.

In an editorial in the Halifax Chronicle Herald, Sports Editor, Hugh Townsend, in acknowledging Burton’s retirement, stated that “the sports history of Nova Scotia is richer because Russell contributed in such significant ways”.

What a great pleasure it is to welcome for induction to Acadia’s Sports Hall of Fame, Burton Russell, a gentleman who not only sent scores of excellent athletes and scholars to our beloved Acadia, but who has contributed as a builder in a significant way in recording the accomplishments of our athletes, teams, and coaches