Former Golden Bear Brian Fryer named to Hall of Fame

University of Alberta Golden Bears’ football alumnus Brian Fryer will be immortalized in Canadian football history.

Fryer was announced as part of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame’s 2013 induction class on Thursday, along with the late Don Loney, a legendary coach at St. Francis Xavier University and former CFL players Dan Ferrone, Miles Gorrell and Earl Winfield, as well as former CFL official John (Jake) Ireland, who will enter the Hall in the builders category.

The induction festivities are set for the fall of 2013 in Edmonton.

Fryer is the second Golden Bear to enter the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, after former Golden Bears’ head coach and Athletics administrator Gino Fracas was inducted in 2011 as a builder. Fryer joins Saint Mary’s quarterback Chris Flynn (2011, player, Mount Allison running back Éric Lapointe (2012, player) and Calgary sideline boss Peter Connellan (2012, builder), who were all recently inducted into the CFHOF for their accomplishments in the Canadian university game.

Fryer will join the Hall in the “players” category. The Edmonton native joined his hometown Golden Bears in 1972 and had an immediate impact, helping the team capture the Vanier Cup in his freshman season. The national title was the first of innumerable accomplishments he would add to his resume over his varsity career.

In four campaigns in Evergreen and Gold, Fryer was not only dominant, he also showed remarkable versatility by being named a Canada West all-star at three different positions in his final three seasons, including running back in 1973, wide receiver in 1974 and slotback in 1975. He earned all-Canadian status in his junior and senior years after being voted Canada West MVP on both occasions and, in 1975, achieved the greatest individual honour in CIS football when he claimed the Hec Crighton Trophy.

Almost four decades after his final university outing, Fryer still holds numerous Golden Bears records, including most all-purpose touchdowns (34), TD catches (20) and receiving yards (2,655) in a career, most points (98), all-purpose majors (16), TD catches (14), receptions (58) and yards through the air (1,068) in a single season, and most touchdowns (5) and receiving yards (227) in a game. Many of those team standards were also CIS or Canada West marks at the time. Before he accomplished both feats in 1974, no CIS player had registered 50 catches or 1,000 receiving yards in a single campaign.

Fryer wasn’t done writing Canadian university football history once he wrapped up his varsity career. On April 8th, 1976, he became the first CIS player to be drafted by an NFL team when the Washington Redskins selected him in the eighth round, 234th overall. He played in four games for the Redskins in 1976 before suffering a season-ending knee injury. After spending the 1977 campaign rehabbing on Washington’s practice roster, he signed with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos in 1978 and was part of the dynasty that won five straight Grey Cups from 1978 to 1982. He appeared in eight contests for Edmonton in 1985 before finishing the season, and his professional career, with three games for the Ottawa Rough Riders.

Soon after he hung up his cleats in 1985, Fryer became the executive director of Football Alberta and has held the position ever since. Over the years, he has been inducted into the Alberta High School, City of Edmonton, Province of Alberta and University of Alberta Sports Halls of Fame.

“Brian was one of the most gifted athletes I had the privilege to coach,” said former U of A head coach Jim Donlevy (1971-1990). “All Golden Bears should be proud of the honour Brian has achieved. His distinguished career with the University of Alberta, the Edmonton Eskimos and Washington Redskins is testament to his skill and ability.” 

-With files from CIS

Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

Leave a Reply