Fred Wannamaker represented his conference at the National level for 13 years in a number of positions with the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association.
Now, he will take his rightful place in the CCAA Hall of Fame in the Builder category.
Wannamaker first became involved with the CCAA as the Men’s Volleyball Convenor for seven seasons (1985-92). He was also the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association representative to the CCAA for four years (1991-93 and 2001-03). Finally, Wannamaker served on the CCAA Executive for three years, first as the VP Sports Development and Leadership (1994-95) and then as VP Marketing (1995-97).
“Over the course of my career in college athletics, I’ve encountered all sorts of personalities and I’ve always admired those who were able to park their egos at the door and advocate for the greater good,” said Ivan (Chuck) Gullickson, who served as CCAA President from 1994-96. “Fred was able to do that.”
Wannamaker always demonstrated a commitment to the student-athletes, his own at Sheridan and others that shared his passion for sport, according to Gullickson, who was inducted into the CCAA Hall of Fame himself last year.
“I believe that this was his major motivation for sharing so much of his time and energy with both the provincial and national sport governing bodies,” he said.
He was also very creative, always thinking ‘outside the box’.
“This kind of person is invaluable to any organization,” said Gullickson. “He believed in the merit of good ideas that would solve problems and advance our cause, sometimes at the sacrifice of his own College or Association’s interests.”
At Sheridan College, Wannamaker was the architect of the Men’s Volleyball program, which won an OCAA record 11 provincial titles from 1978-94. The Bruins went on to capture the 1983 CCAA National Championship. In the OCAA, he convened everything from table tennis to volleyball. Wannamaker was also key in Sheridan hosting the 1993 CCAA Men’s Volleyball National Championship.
He was inducted into the OCAA Hall of Fame in 2007.
While there were many great achievements during his CCAA career, it’s the interactions that he remembers best.
“Generally, meeting people from all across Canada was an eye opener and very educational,” he said. “Learning from a trans-Canada perspective helped me personally and in returning to my college and Ontario to hopefully make them a little better as well.”
One of Wannamaker’s fondest memories is a golf game during the CCAA annual general meetings in Vancouver. He was playing alongside fellow Ontario compatriot Michele McConney of Georgian College.
“We had a great battle,” said Wannamaker. “We were walking, talking and playing at a very high level.”
In the end, it was McConney who won the match, but only by a few strokes recalls Wannamaker. “I would have won if she had been a little more than six months pregnant with her child,” he joked.
Wannamaker always showed the ability to make a bad situation seem a little more manageable and his character was always a highlight at CCAA meetings. He was also a master of the pun.
“When Al Ferchuk took over the CCAA Presidency from me in 1996, Fred quickly noted that this was a good deal, ‘Al-fer-Chuck’,” said Gullickson.
“He has a very unusual and creative sense of humor that endears him to others.”