Hall rolls out carpet
By Alex Chiang and Joe Ruscica
Today, the "W" Club Hall of Fame, which honours Western's top alumni athletes, will open its gates for five more distinguished individuals who made a name for themselves and their university.
The late Dutch Decker, football tight end Craig Labbett, running back John Wydareny, basketball centre Ray Monnot and hockey stand-out Bill Smith, will all be honoured at tonight's Alumni Western annual awards banquet.
Marvin "Dutch" Decker Dutch Decker was a member of Western's sports programs for a remarkable 46 years (from 1942 until his retirement in 1988) and few have matched his contribution to the Mustang sporting community. He began his Western athletic parade in 1942, playing basketball for the Mustangs and never looked back.
After graduation, Decker coached tennis and badminton and was asked to become the intramural director in the athletic department. In the mid-1960s, he coached the Western men's volleyball team for 10 seasons as well as various activities for the faculty of physical education. Decker was also a game official, refereeing basketball, volleyball and tennis at the international level. In 1976, he was crew chief of the basketball scoring table during the Montreal Olympics.
Craig Labbett Of all the great players to don Western's football jersey, Craig Labbett was one of the best. Labbett was a tight end for the Mustangs between 1974 and 1977, during which he was on three national championship teams ('74, '76 and '77). He earned Ontario University Athletic Association all-star honours in the 1975, '76 and '77 seasons and was named an All-Canadian in '76 and '77.
While at Western, Labbett set an all-time reception mark of 61 receptions for 1,203 yards. It wasn't until 1992 that receiver Tyrone Williams topped his mark. Luckily for Labbett, or so he told the Western News, he had excellent quarterbacks throwing him the ball in Bill Robinson (Western's all-time leading passer), Jamie Bone and Paul Ford. Labbett's credentials also include being co-captain of the Canadian contingent in the first-ever Can-Am Bowl in 1978.
After leaving Western, Labbett went on to play professionally in the Canadian Football League with the Montreal Alouettes, Toronto Argonauts and the Hamilton Tiger Cats. He is now working in a Toronto investment business.
Ray Monnot Ray Monnot played three seasons for the Mustang basketball team through 1954-55 and 1956-57. In his first season, he set a single-game record of 38 points and a single-season record of 530 points.
Monnot was a senior intercollegiate all-star twice and was awarded the Dr. Claude Brown Memorial Trophy as Western's top male athlete in 1957. He was chosen for an Ontario all-star team which competed in the Canadian Olympic basketball trials and was later picked for Canada's Olympic basketball team in 1960.
Today, Monnot is the manager of finance personnel and administration in the Prime Minister's Office.
John Wydareny began his football career at Western in 1959. In his first year as running back alongside Western greats Meco Poliziani, Frank Cosentino and Lionel Conacher, Wydareny led the Mustangs to an undefeated season. That year, he finished as the runner-up in the scoring race behind teammate Bill Mitchell.
"I'd have to say my career highlight would be making the team my first year. That was really big for me," Wydareny said. "I'm also proud of the fact that I was able to play in the first east-west [Vanier Cup] championship [in 1959]."
Later in 1962, he doubled his duties, playing halfback on offence and safety on defence.
Wydareny joined the CFL ranks for 10 seasons, making stops at Toronto and Edmonton. He set the single-season record for interceptions at 11 and matched it twice in his career. Wydareny also made the CFL's Western Conference all-star team and won the Eskimos' Most Valuable Player Award, the Jackie Parker Trophy once.
"I think the most important thing you take into life from the Western athletic experience, is being able to manage time and be disciplined," Wydareny said.
Bill Smith Bill Smith's resume also boasts some impressive credentials which he earned on the hockey rink. In only his first year at Western ('77-'78), Smith scored 52 points (33 goals, 19 assists) a team record for first-year players and a single-season scoring record.
Smith, who originally played Junior A, decided to play at Western after only one year in the majors and would surpass his own single-season scoring mark with a 56-point performance in 1980-81.
After four impressive seasons with the Mustangs, Smith had accumulated 194 points, 30 more than Pete Fraser's previous count. In 1978, Smith was asked to play for Canada's Olympic team on a tour of western Canada. Finally, in 1980-81, Smith was named an All-Canadian.