Bulldog Country
Champions of the past and present

by Heather Sinclair

With testosterone levels rising and the cheers increasing, the Jarvis football team enters into Varsity Stadium. The year is 1910 and although the team is lacking in coaches, defensive signals and protective equipment, the boys manage to win their first Toronto Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) senior football championship, now known as TDSB South.

Similar triumphs have been achieved throughout the history of JCI. And through these victories, athletes, coaches and the student body alike have managed to advance the field of athletics within our great school.

Tom Watt taught and coached at Jarvis between 1959 and 1964. In 1961, he led the senior football team to the championship. The team had lost their first game of the season, but managed to win the following six games, including a 31-13 win in the final at Varsity Stadium over Humberside. He enjoyed coaching football, but throughout the rest of the school year Watt occupied his time in several other athletic teams.

“I coached football every year, and hockey and track at other times. However, I also spent many, many hours coaching in a very successful gymnastics program.”

The former gymnasts won many city titles and were at one time second overall in the province. They also put on vaulting and tumbling displays on Cadet Day and other special occasions. “The gymnasts deserve some space in our history,” says Watt.

Watt went on to become an NHL head coach and is now an NHL scout working out of Toronto.

One of the athletes who played in the 1961 football championship was John Michaluk; he was a student at Jarvis from 1956 to 1962, and looks back on those years with fond memories. Throughout his high school career he was a member of Jarvis’s Varsity Hockey team and in 1957 he helped Jarvis win the TSSAA hockey championship at Maple Leaf Gardens.

In 1965 he was recruited to come back to Jarvis to teach. It was the policy at that time that all teachers had to be involved with at least one extracurricular activity along with their regular classroom duties. Michaluk coached the football team and the varsity hockey team from 1965 until 1972. He also developed a wrestling team in 1967 and a lacrosse team in 1968.

Marvin Pearl was also a major force in the physical education department at JCI. His illustrious teaching and coaching career at Jarvis began in the fall of 1963 and continued until 1996. In his thirty-three years at Jarvis, among other notable accomplishments, he created the city's premier basketball tournament, The Jarvis Invitational, which showcased the finest and most competitive teams in the GTA, and continues to this day. The most memorable time that he recalls is winning the TSSAA Sr. Boys’ Basketball Championship in 1985. The team won the game on a last-minute basket in the Jarvis gym. “As in all victories it was a group effort; it takes many working together to get to the top.” The legacy of his team spirit lives on today.

One of the greatest dynasties in Jarvis sports history was the Boys' Basketball teams, from 1978 to 1982. Coached by the legendary former Head of English, Bob Nicholson, they dominated the Toronto league for half a decade. The 1978 squad included David Joseph, one of Jarvis's most esteemed athletes, who became Canadian College Player of the Year at South Alberta Institute of Technology. After Joseph left, the Junior Team continued the dynasty in 1980, winning 20 of their 21 last games, including the TSSAA finals.

Proper recognition of female athletics within school was sufficiently acknowledged until more recent years. The spotlight was on men’s sports; primarily football, hockey and basketball. In more recent years, however, the Jarvis women have finally received their deserved recognition and done exceptionally well. In 2002, the Senior Girls’ basketball team went all the way to the Ontario finals, placing fourth overall. In the regular season the girls managed to hold a record of twelve wins and zero losses, earning the title of city champions, which they repeated the following year.

The captain of the Jarvis team, Angie Knoebelreiter was considered the best player in the OFSAA tournament and the best female basketball player in Canada.

During all these glory years, Jarvis’s teams were supported by appreciative fans who stood by them 110 percent. That was a time when school spirit filled the hallways of JCI and the teams would respond with extraordinary performances. Now it seems that some of that spark has faded.

These days, the Jarvis gym isn't nearly as filled when sporting events take place. As we begin our 200th year, all of us hope that Jarvis can recover that championship spirit and that everyone will come out to support our teams as they compete for future glory.

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