Toronto football community in mourning over Ford’s passing (VIDEO)

This morning, the news was confirmed that former Toronto mayor Rob Ford passed away at the age of 46 after a lengthy battle with cancer.

In the football circles, Ford made a tremendous impact on and off the field.  His coaching career began in 2001 with North York’s Newtonbrook’s Secondary School.

Ford’s biggest impact came during his time with the Don Bosco Eagles of the Toronto District Secondary School Athletic Association (TDSSAA) as he coached there from 2001-2013. Ford was insturmental in resuscitating the Eagles football program and donated $25,000 to the program to get it off its feet as he wanted to provide an avenue for high school kids in a rough neighborhood.

“I know what football did for me as a kid,” commented Mr. Ford in a previous interview with   “I grew up in a family with a few problems, and I probably wouldn’t have finished high school without football. I just want to give back to these kids what I got out of football.”

“More than any other team sport, everyone in football must be a team player. It requires ethics and morals and discipline, and the harder you try, the more successful you’ll be.”

Photo credit: Toronto Star

Photo credit: Toronto Star

The players considered Ford a father figure and on several occasions he would treat them as his own by purchasing them new shoes, looking after bus fares and hosting team barbeques.

In addition to the Eagles, Ford also coached the Rexdale Raiders of the Ontario Minor Football League (OMFL).

Off the field, the coach created the Rob Ford Football Foundation and also previously donated funds to supply the Eagles junior and senior football squads with uniforms.

During his career, Ford instructed players who have flourished on the gridiron including Jerome Miller and Jonathan Langa.

In the past, several players have told CFC in interviews how Ford’s impact has been far reaching in their lives:

“One of my role models, who I really look up to – Mayor Rob Ford who has taught me respect, and discipline,” said Jeremy Magan-France, a defensive player.  “Rob Ford has made me who I am today.”

“He does do a whole lot, more than people see, behind closed doors for these kids,” expressed Miller, a former running back.  “Helps them out if they need any help, for any reason at all.”

“He’s the first one that’ll be there for them. But he just speaks his mind, and from his heart.”

Photo credit: Edmonton Journal

Many former players, colleaguesand media are expressing their condolences via social media and reflecting on Ford’s gridiron impact:

Even though we had some differences, Rob Ford was a damn great football coach and great man who taught me alot about life and handling responsibilities as a man. Rest in paradise.

Posted by Temba Jennings on Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

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