(WINDSOR, ON) – St Denis Centre Fieldhouse at the University of Windsor is being re-named the Dennis Fairall Fieldhouse to honour the remarkable contributions of one of the most decorated coaches in Canadian University sport history.
The announcement was made by the University of Windsor’s president, Alan Wildeman, yesterday evening during an event at Caesars Windsor to celebrate Fairall, who took a long-term medical leave from UWindsor in October 2015.
“This is a fitting tribute to a man who has had an extraordinary impact on the lives of student athletes and on the University of Windsor,” said Wildeman. “Dennis is known across the country for his dedication to excellence in track and field, and has been a coach, mentor and friend to all he has worked with. He is a legend.”
Among the hundreds of outstanding achievements in a stellar career, Fairall led Lancer teams to 25 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championships, 46 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) titles, and has been honoured 65 times as either CIS or OUA coach of the year in track and field and/or cross country.
His Lancer teams have won 22 of the past 25 provincial championships in men’s track and field, and 17 of the past 25 provincial championships in women’s track and field.
Fairall began his coaching career in his hometown of Tillsonburg in 1974 when he founded the Tillsonburg Legion Track Club. He remained the club’s head coach until 1985 when he joined the University of Windsor.
He has coached a number of national teams and served as head coach of Team Canada at the 2005 Pan American Junior Athletics Championships held in Windsor. Under his direction, Team Canada earned their highest medal count in the history of the event.
“It is difficult to think of the Windsor Lancers without thinking of Dennis Fairall,” said Lancers Athletic Director, Mike Havey. “Dennis is an iconic figure here at the University of Windsor and in the history of Lancer athletics. He has been a model of class, humility, and professionalism his entire career and has been someone who has always put the team first.”
Though he has left the coaching staff, Fairall remains a member of the Lancer family and continues to coach Canadian middle distance runner and UWindsor alum Melissa Bishop, who won a gold medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games and set a new Canadian record in the 800 metres last summer, while also capturing a silver medal at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
Last week, Bishop broke her own Canadian record twice in three days, setting a new mark at the Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix on Saturday.
“He has mentored generations of student-athletes, coaches, and colleagues alike,” Havey continued. “We have all been made better because of his influence and leadership.”