Sonny Wolfe

SonnyWolfe700

Most people spend their lives trying to find a career that is satisfying and fulfilling. For Sonny Wolfe, his decision early in life to coach football would never waver, and over the course of a 40-year career hementored many young men in a sport they loved and guided them to even greater things after graduation.

A native of Montreal, Sonny was raised in the Cote des Neiges district. He began his career in 1968 as a defensive line coach with the NDG Maple Leafs, followed by three seasons as a defensive coach at Sir George Williams University (1969-71) and four years as a defensive coordinator at Vanier College (1972-75). He played briefly with the McGill Redmen, and graduated from McGill with a degree in physical education in 1976. He then served as a full-time assistant coach and recruiter at McGill for eight seasons under Charlie Baillie, from 1976 to 1983.

A coach that would never be outworked by another at a rival school, Sonny instilled in his assistants a work ethic that would lead to their success. When asked who he considered a mentor in his early years,Sonny referred to his relationship with Baillie.

Sonny Wolfe completed his 24th and final season as a CIS head football coach in 2011 after five years at McGill, capping a 19-year career at Acadia during which he and his wife Denise became an integral partof the local community. He won three AUS championships at Acadia – in 1984, 1995, 1998 – and his 24 seasons as a head coach ties him with the legendary Gino Fracas for the seventh highest career total in CIS football history. He has a career record of 83-94 in CIS regular-season competition and developed more than 20 players who went on to pro football careers in the CFL.

Acadia’s Director of Athletics, Kevin Dickie, was a colleague of Sonny’s from 1997-2000 when Dickie was head coach of the Hockey Axemen. “As both the Director of Athletics and a good friend of Sonny Wolfe’s, I am extremely pleased that he has been inducted into our Sports Hall of Fame,” Dickie said. “I’m not sure there is anyone in the history of Acadia Athletics who has left their mark on a campus in a way that Sonny did over 19 years. It goes way beyond wins and losses; it’s the impact he had on young people and the coaches in other sports who worked alongside him. More than anything, Sonny is a tremendous person, and we are pleased to honour him.”

Following his retirement from CIS football, Wolfe was honoured by Canadian Interuniversity Sport in June 2013. He received the Jean-Marie De Koninck Coaching Excellence Award, presented since 2007 to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to university sport as demonstrated by long-term commitment and leadership as a coach at the local, provincial, national and/or international levels.

Hardly surprising, retirement isn’t really part of Sonny’s plan. His passion for shaping the futures of young people today has taken him back to high school, where he now coaches a team in Montreal. The Acadia Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to induct, in the builder category, an outstanding coach and valued mentor to countless student-athletes, Sonny Wolfe.