Don Stouffer was instrumental in the founding of the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association.
In 1972 he was serving as Mount Royal College’s athletic director, golf coach and hockey coach in Calgary, Alta. He was also an executive member of the ACAC (Alberta College Athletic Conference), which participated in the 4-West Conference, organizing college championships for teams competing in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Stouffer had hopes of creating a national organization, but faced an uphill battle getting his vision off the ground.
“Not everyone was excited about it,” says Stouffer. “So a lot of my politicking was trying to convince reluctant provincial organizations and 4-West members to go beyond the status quo and be less resistant to change. The concept was to provide an opportunity for elite athletes at the college and institute level to pursue excellence in the same way their counterparts at universities did, and providing national championships was a means to achieve that objective.”
He found key allies in Ontario, working with Alex Hoffman and Jack Costello from St Clair College, as well as reaching out to Bucky Buchanan and Ken Marchant in the Atlantic provinces. Although it required piles of paperwork and a hectic travel schedule, “I met some great people,” says Stouffer, “and the meetings were a lot of fun. We knew the hurdles we had to clear, and those involved from the beginning worked tirelessly to bring everyone else around. We had battles with the federal government in Ottawa and difficulty convincing some of the provinces, but we were unrelenting. We just wouldn’t give up; we were persistent to the point where we got it.”
As a result of his extraordinary efforts, Stouffer was named the first president of the CCAA, serving from 1974 until 1979, then served as past president for three years.
His work at Mount Royal College continued until 1997, during which time he served as coordinator of student affairs, physical education chair, dean of the faculty of community and health sciences, and remained as golf coach for 32 years, leading the Cougars to 14 conference titles. He also started the Cougar Booster Club and Cougar Endowment Fund for athletic scholarships, and in 1999 Mount Royal College received the CCAA’s 25th Anniversary Overall Sport Supremacy Award. Stouffer was inducted into Mount Royal’s Wall of Fame in 2010.
Now more than 40 years strong, the organization he founded still carries his mandate of athletic excellence.