Michael Roach- 1965

Michael Roach, a native of Port Colbome, Ontario who attended Acadia from the fall of ’61 to the spring of ’66, was undoubtedly one of the University’s best-ever track performers.

Being a versatile athlete who played three seasons of football with the Neil MacVicar-coached Axemen, Roach was particularly outstanding in short distance track events.

During his initial year at Acadia, he was part of a Major Fred Kelly squad that captured the Maritime Intercollegiate title in a meet staged in Antigonish. Individual star for the Axemen on that occasion was Pete Simmonds, while Roach, Rowan Clattenburg, Dave NiZ1lik and Malcolm Murray formed a very strong 880 yard relay team.

In October of 1962 at Raymond Field, the Axemen finished second behind U.N.B. -representing only the fifth time in twenty-eight tries that the Kelly-directed Axemen had failed to win the Tri-Province crown. Mike Roach and Bob MacDougal1 placed first and second respectively in the 220 yard run, while the fleet-footed Ontario native won the 100 yard dash.

During the fall of’63 it was reported that the Acadia sprint star had been “slowed down” by an auto accident. As the Intercollegiate championship meet was held, however, and the Kellymen had regained their track and field supremacy by garnering 73 points for a comfortable victory over St. F.X. and Dalhousie, Roach had obviously recovered from his injury. Establishing anew 220 yard record by breaking the tape in a time of 22.8 seconds, he had emerged as an outstanding prospect with Olympic Games aspirations. Running the mile relay in that Same meet in the company of Malcolm Murray, Arnold Shaw and Dick Campbell, the talented quartet set a Maritime Intercollegiate record of 3’33’.

In 1963, as well, he attended an Olympic Developmental track and field meet held in Buffalo, NY and completed the 100 yard event in a time of 9.5 seconds.

Knowledgeable observers of the time felt that Mike Roach would have departed for Japan as a member of Canada’s ’64 Olympic team had not a bout of appendicitis interfered with his training schedule.

On January 4, 1964 he placed fourth in an Intercollegiate meet held in Toronto, running the 300 yard event in 33.1 seconds -just a half second slower than the time recorded by a University of Buffalo sprinter.

Following graduation from Acadia, this talented track star taught at Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown. Returning to Acadia during the fall of 71 to study for a Masters degree, he assisted Don Wells as coach of the University’s track team.

From the fall of ‘74 to the present time, he has taught mathematics at Amherst Regional High School. For the past eighteen seasons he has coached the school’s track team, guiding them to AA provincial titles in ’94 and ’95.

As a fitting tribute to his dedication and expertise, he was honoured with Coach-of-the-Year awards in ’89 and ’95.

It is indeed a pleasure to welcome back to Acadia for induction to the Sports Hall of Fame, Mike Roach, a key member of four Tri-Province Intercollegiate championship teams and holder of Maritime records in both the 100 and 220 yard sprints with respective times of 9.8 and 21.5 seconds.