50TH VANIER CUP INTERVIEW SERIES: Don Bayne (1968)

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50TH VANIER CUP INTERVIEW SERIES: 1968
A conversation with…
Don Bayne, quarterback, Queen’s University Golden Gaels

In Vanier Cup IV, quarterback Don Bayne earned the Ted Morris Trophy as game MVP after he completed 14 of 19 passes for 250 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. After allowing a touchdown to Waterloo Lutheran four minutes into the contest, Queen’s responded with 36 unanswered points en route to a convincing 42-14 win at Varsity Stadium in Toronto.

What is your major memory of the entire Vanier Cup week and the overall experience?

The overall memory of the Vanier Cup week is of a high-quality experience, professionally executed, especially since it was only the fourth Canadian College Bowl, and the second official national championship game. In retrospect, I congratulate those who conceived and brought into being the Vanier Cup for their vision and operational execution.

What is your one major lasting memory of the actual game?

The major game memory among very many, apart from victory, is the extraordinary way it all came together with unseasonably warm November weather, a night game that packed Varsity Stadium to the rafters (an intimate setting for the game) and the way that major media gave prominence to the game and Canadian university football. This part, sadly, has been lost in our major media these days, a major failing I would suggest as the product is superb and entertaining and the athletes have only got better over the years.

What do you remember as the key play of the game?

The key play was the kickoff runback after our opponents scored first. This set up a short drive that tied the game and changed momentum.

What was your personal greatest play or moment?

No personal greatest play at all but a genuine team effort with many contributors including our iconic coaches, Frank Tindall and Hal “Moose” McCarney.

Did anything unusual or out of the ordinary happen during the game or during Vanier Cup week?

What was unusual was the degree of team focus and cohesion and bonding created by Vanier Cup week – on a team that already was focused throughout the year.

Did the coaches do anything different from normal routine in the preparation for the game?

Absolutely nothing different. The coaches prepared with information and motivation and, as always, much humour.

How did you or the team react to the stadium, the crowd, the weather?

The stadium and crowd and weather were simply perfect for a Cup moment.

What are your memories of the post-game celebrations on the field and/or in the dressing room?

All a blur after the game, except for the dressing room photo that has survived for decades now in Queen’s game programs and marketing publicity.

What are your memories of the trip back home? What was the reaction on campus when the team returned?

Can’t recall trip home or on-campus reception except, of course, that then the Queen’s student body was famous for its support of the team.

At the time, how did winning the Vanier Cup change your everyday life?

It did not change everyday life, except that for the rest of your life there is a bond with the teammates who shared and created the experience and the knowledge that, with some good luck, you achieved collectively a national champion status that is a rare and wonderful experience, one that endures.

How often to you reminisce about your Vanier Cup win?

Our team members have remained close, but we don’t live in the past. We enjoy each other with the collective accomplishment in the background, a nice background.

What did it mean to win the Vanier Cup for Queen’s, which has such a rich football history?

It is in some ways fitting that Queen’s won one of the first Vanier Cup, given the exceptional history and legacy of football at Queen’s as detailed in Merv Daub’s fine book “Gael Force”. Other wonderful football programs have emerged and succeeded but none with a richer football history than Queen’s.

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