Time Capsule: 1984

The Gryphons football squad was an underdog in Canadian university competition in 1984. But after winning the coveted Vanier Cup as the best varsity team in the country, the Red and Gold were thought of as a team of destiny.

“We worked so hard that we couldn’t lose, even though we weren’t supposed to win,” Jeff Volpe, a player on the winning team, said years later. “We had a feeling of destiny, the feeling that you were part of something bigger than yourself. That, in essence, is what a team is all about.”

The Gryphons beat four-time Vanier Cup winner Western Mustangs to win the Yates Cup, becoming champs of Ontario. Then, on Nov. 24, U of G rallied to defeat the Mount Allison Mounties 22-13 at Toronto’s Varsity Stadium, in front of a crowd of 19,842.

Gryphon receiver Parri Ceci, who went on to a professional career in the CFL, was the game’s MVP. He made two receptions in the game, both for touchdowns. One was carried 89 yards, the longest in Vanier Cup history to that point.


  • Burt Matthews became U of G’s fourth president. He earned his undergraduate degree at OAC. A soil chemist, he spent 20 years here, beginning as an OAC lecturer.
  • New head football coach John Musselman replaced Tom Dimitroff, who returned to the Ottawa Rough Riders of the CFL. Musselman would coach the Gryphons to a Vanier Cup victory.
  • Macdonald Stewart Art Centre got the go-ahead to begin landscaping work on the expansion of the Donald Forster Sculpture Park.


  • The Soviet Union boycotted the Summer Olympics Games in Los Angeles, in retaliation for the United States led boycott of the 1980 games held in Moscow.
  • The space shuttle Discovery had its maiden flight, which lasted from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5.
  • An agreement was reached to return Hong Kong to China.
  • Canadian film director James Cameron gained international fame with the release of his critically acclaimed The Terminator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Do you have a memory to share from your time at U of G? Email a high-resolution photo to porticomagazine@uoguelph.ca and it could appear in Time Capsule.