Robert Stracina- 1978

As a Canadian football Axeman, Bob Stracina, a ’78 Acadia graduate, was generally recognized as one of the nation’s premier intercollegiate performers.

As a rookie with the ’75 Axemen, Bob was singled out for praise in the team’s early-season 51-0 triumph over Dalhousie as he converted all touchdowns and booted several long punts. In a subsequent 16-9 loss to S.M.U., he shared the spotlight with Bob Cameron and Cliff MacLeod. In a 10-3 victory over U.N.B., Stracina and Cameron were the offensive standouts. Following a 10-3 win over S.M.U. in the Atlantic Intercollegiate Championship game, the Bob Vespaziani-coached Axemen lost 38-13 to Calgary in Atlantic Bowl action despite the scoring efforts of MacLeod, Stracina and Cameron.

The ’76 Canadian football season was destined to be an historic one for Bob Stracina. Climaxing an outstanding regular season schedule in which he starred offensively in each encounter, he converted a Drew Walker touchdown in a 23-8 triumph over S.M.U., giving him a total of 102 points which eclipsed Al Charuk’s old-time season record. That victory also assured Vespaziani’s Axemen of a second consecutive league title.

In 23-0 and 19-14 victories over St.F.X. in the Conference’s playoff championship round, Dave MacFarlane-in at quarterback for the injured Bob Cameron- Terry Tapak, Don Ross and Stracina were among the many prominent performers. In an Atlantic Bowl victory over the highly-rated Ottawa Gee Gees, Bob again shared the accolades with such as Mark Chernenko, Ross and Cameron. In College Bowl play, the Axemen dropped a 29-3 decision to the Western Ontario Mustangs. Stracina scored a touchdown and field goal for Acadia, while Cameron and Cliff Steeves drew plaudits for their outstanding efforts.

At the prestigious Schenley Awards Dinner that fall, Stracina received great recognition for himself, the Axemen and the Conference by being selected the winner of the Hec Creighton Trophy-awarded annually to the best college player in Canada. At age nineteen, he became the youngest player and the only sophomore up to that point to receive this honor. Final statistics for the season indicated that Bob had won the Atlantic Conference’s scoring title, accumulating 112 points in six league games. Overall, he recorded a total of 153 points. Against Western, he established College Bowl records by catching twelve passes for 221 yards.

The 1977 football season was another memorable one for the Vespaziani-directed Axemen. Beginning the season at Raymond Field with a 60-7 triumph over Mt. A. in which Stracina collected twenty-four points, the Axemen emerged as Conference champs. In Atlantic Bowl action against Queen’s, the Axemen led by such as Hubie Walsh, overcame a terrible first quarter to gain a victory. The Axemen’s subsequent loss to the Western Mustangs at the Varsity Stadium in Toronto for the Canadian title was anticlimactic to a terrific football season. Bob Cameron, Ed Gateveckes, Mark Moors and Bob Stracina were selected to play in the fIrst Can-Am Bowl game scheduled for January of 1978 in Tampa Bay, Florida.

Following a season of injuries in ’78, Stracina joined the John Huard-coached Axemen during the fall of ’79. In his initial start of the season, he scored seventeen points. Under Huard’s direction, the Axemen went all the way defeating St. F .X. 18-0 to win the league championship; they blasted the University of Alberta Golden Bears, 27-3, in the Atlantic Bowl play; in College Bowl action for the third time in four seasons, they tamed the Western Mustangs, 34-12, to capture their first Canadian Intercollegiate Football title. Bob Stracina’s effectiveness in ’79 football action was impressive enough to warrant him an invitation to attend spring training camps of Canadian Football League teams. This Quebec native who had graduated from Western Laval High School with honors and the athlete of the year award, was also named Quebec’s top midget football player that same season.

Son of Joe Stracina (whom Nova Scotia sports writers mistakenly called “Moe”), Bob in reference to his father’s name and his own field goal kicking abilities was kiddingly referred to by the Acadia’s football veterans as “Moe the Toe”. Stracina’s lone regret as he looks forward to being inducted is that his dad will not be present to share in this special moment. The senior Stracina, who had played professionally in the Canadian Football League with Saskatchewan, Ottawa and Montreal from ’54-’64 and who has shared in winning the Grey Cup in 1960 with teammates Russ Jackson and Ron Lancaster, passed away in August of’96.

What an honor it is to welcome back to Acadia for induction to the Sports Hall of Fame, Bob Stracina, recipient of Canadian Intercollegiate football’s most outstanding player award in 1976.