The York University Magazine

YorkU Fall 2014

The alumni magazine of York University

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YorkU Fall 2014 31 ike many kids, Greg Ebel (BA '87) played backyard football before making football teams in local city leagues and high school. "My family moved a lot when I was growing up, so getting on a football team was always a great way to meet people. It instantly gave me friends and a support group," he says. A former wide receiver and slotback with York's football team, Ebel, 50, is still deeply passionate about the sport that provided him with a sense of belonging and laid the foundation for his success. After graduating from York, he went on to study at the Harvard Business School. Today, Ebel heads up Spectra Energy Corp, a Fortune 500 company in Houston that's one of North America's leading developers of natural gas infrastructure. Now, to support his alma mater and honour Frank Cosentino – York's winningest coach – Ebel has donated more than $40,000 to York's football program and established the Frank Cosentino/Yeoman Football Award. "Football is very important to me," says Ebel. "It taught me discipline, the value of teamwork, commitment and the ability to overcome adversity. These are all key elements to being successful at football and in business." Thanks to his contribution to the future of York's football program, the coaches will be able to bolster their recruitment efforts and student athletes will receive much- needed financial support. "In many respects, the current program is similar to when I was a player at York," Ebel says. "We were rebuilding then, and in the first year we won only one game. After that, we had a winning record and made the playoffs two out of the three remaining seasons I played." Cosentino, who "brought back esprit de corps to the team from the beginning of his tenure," was instrumental in rallying the Yeomen (now Lions) to victory, according to Ebel. "That started in the locker room with his revival of 'Ode to the Yeoman,' " he adds. "It could only be chanted by the team when we won. I still remember every word of it. It started with, 'To hell with old McMaster, to hell with OAC (the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph), to hell with all the colleges including Varsity (Blues, of the University of Toronto).' The rest is classified for the football team. By reviving the ode, coach Cos created a lot of incentive and pride among the players. It wasn't in the playbook, but it put points on the scoreboard." To create a new incentive for the Lions football team, Ebel has issued a challenge: He would like to see the Lions win the Ontario University Athletics Championships and the national championships (the Vanier Cup) within five years. "A competitive football program is a critical component of any successful athletics program at a university," he says. "York's reputation as an all-around great educational institution will only be enhanced by such a program. Go Lions!" Y L Greg Ebel's gift honours the team that nurtured him Giving

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