ACAC Class of 2017: Murray McAuley

ACAC Class of 2017: Murray McAuley

by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips

In celebration of its 50th season of competition, the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) held its inaugural ACAC Hall of Fame selection and ceremony in 2014 with induction of 50 individuals within the categories of builders and administrators, coaches and student-athletes.

In this the second installment, a total of eight inductees will be named with a Class of 2017 ceremony scheduled for May 13, 2017 in Calgary, Alberta.

Below is the third of eight inductee profiles.

Builder Category

Murray McAuley, SAIT Trojans

At 72 years-of-age young, it's evident during a recent telephone interview, that Murray McAuley still has a passion for athletics and the positive attributes it may have on individuals and institutions.

A native of Brandon, Manitoba, he relocated with his family to Calgary, Alberta when he was in Grade 8.

McAuley, who played one year of men's volleyball at Mount Royal Junior College (now Mount Royal University), would continue his physical education studies at University of Calgary.

While in university, he would also find time to return to SAIT to coach the men's volleyball team from 1970-1972.

Completing his degree, he was hired in 1976 by the  Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in the role of Assistant Coordinator of Student Athletics while also coaching the Trojans women's volleyball team.

During these early years, he was also the ACAC Publicity/Media  Chairman.

"As the publicity guy, I was proud that we were able to get the Canadian Press to do something new and post all of our (ACAC sports) scores from across the province," recalled McAuley, who was the ACAC Vice President from 1983-1985. "So, instead of just having a game, say in Grande Prairie, mentioned only in their local paper, it was mentioned in papers across the province."

McAuley was also responsible for implementing the ACAC logo: "I ran a contest to develop the ACAC logo and it was won by a SAIT wrestler in 1977."

While coordinating the Campus Recreation programs, McAuley was also instrumental in setting up the Life Skills and Physical Activity courses, which SAIT students could enroll in for extra credits.

From 1980 – 1987 McAuley was Trojans Athletic Director with some of the highlights including the hosting of the 1982 Canadian Colleges Athletic Conference (CCAA) men's hockey and volleyball championships.

Volleyball was won by  crosstown rival Mount Royal College over the host Trojans.

A trip of the SAIT Trojans men's hockey team to China in 1983 also stands out.

"We were the first real hockey team to travel to China," reminisces McAuley. "Teams that had been there before were there to conduct clinics. We were there to tour and play exhibition games.

"It was a good experience. The problem though, was that the facilities were lacking at the time. We played all of our game outdoors. If you have ever seen a Chinese Zamboni, it was made up of three or four guys out there shoveling and 40 guys behind them with brooms."

In 1989 McAuley was hired as the University of Lethbridge's first full-time athletic director, a position he held until 1994.

Of his time within the ACAC, McAuley concluded: "It has the fondest memories for me. Everyone, no matter the college, was very collegial. You got along with everyone. The one thing I might mention that I am proud of is that it is believed that I was the first Athletic Director in the CCAA and also at the (then Canadian Interuniversity Sport now known as U Sports) level to win National Championships at both levels."

McAuley was inducted into the SAIT Athletic Wall of Distinction in the builder category for the Class of 1992, where it is partly written: "His intuition and foresight into potential funding problems at college lead to his setting up of the Foundation for a fundraising / external body for this purpose. Even though the Foundation did not become a reality during his time at SAIT, the ground work was laid for the organizational structure of the Trojan Athletic Foundation."

McAuley and his wife Susanna have two daughters and three grandchildren.

Currently he is President of Campus Supply, which according to its website, "has been in operation since 1973 as a wholesaler and distributor of high quality educational, commercial, hospitality, and church furniture."