The Rolf Lund Trophy
A Coach, Mentor and Friend Extradordonaire
As a coach, an educator, and a man, the late Rolf Lund embodied many of the ideals and qualities that generations of Queen’s athletes have held dear.
The Queen’s community recently lost a dear and close sports colleague when Rolf Lund died at the age of 67 after a lengthy and courageous fight with cancer. Rolf was the former Chair of Athletics, an educator in the School of Physical and Health Education, and the well-respected coach of various intercollegiate teams. He passed away in Kingston on February 13 with the dignity rare for someone who had faced such difficult challenges in his final days.
Born in Camrose, AB, on January 30, 1937, Rolf joined the staff at Royal Military College in 1961 as a coach in football, nordic skiing, and gymnastics. As an instructor he was a nationally certified coach in ski jumping and gymnastics. In 1963, he was appointed to the School of Physical and Health Education at Queen’s, where he assumed both teaching and coaching responsibilities. Rolf’s primary areas of expertise were in the history of sport and in outdoor pursuits. Rolf continued teaching courses in sport history following his appointment to the Chair of Athletics in 1988, a post he held until his retirement in 1996.
Rolf was a long-time track-and-field coach at Queen’s with a career that spanned more than 25 years. During his tenure as Head Coach of both our men’s and women’s track-and-field teams, Rolf brought home three men’s provincial championship titles, five second-place finishes, and six third-place finishes. While he was head coach for the men’s and women’s cross-country teams for more than 20 years, Tricolour athletes won five provincial championships and four national titles.
In addition, Rolf coached both the men’s Alpine and Nordic Skiing teams during in the late 1960s, leading the Nordic men’s team to one national and three provincial titles.
Known as a very strong supporter of grassroots development of sports in Canada, Rolf served as a coach and administrator with Canadian teams at the World Student Games, Pan-Am Games, World Track and Field Championships, and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Olympic Association, Pan Am Athletics Council, and Commonwealth Games Association.
Rolf’s greatest challenge as an administrator came on the heels of the Ben Johnson steroid scandal. As then-president of the Ontario Track and Field Association and Director of Athletics Canada, Rolf handled the Johnson affair diplomatically and with compassion.
He was best known for his “athletes-first” credo. Rolf would let nothing stand in the way of a student athlete reaching his or her goals. At the same time, he fostered a natural learning environment where athletes and coaches were encouraged to take full responsibility for their actions and direction. In the face of any controversy, Rolf’s quiet manner had a positive, calming influence on people. In his mind the athlete’s best interests always came first.
Although Rolf was very unassuming in life, he was able to step back and look at sport and its development through critical and visionary eyes. Rolf gave credit where credit was due, and never forgot his passion for life and his enthusiasm for sport. His energy, passion, and contributions to sport were recognized in 2000 when he was inducted into the Kingston Sports Hall of Fame in the builder/coach category.
My friend, mentor, and colleague Rolf Lund embodied many of the ideals and qualities that generations of student athletes at Queen’s have held dear. His love of education and his mentorship motivated the student athletes with whom he worked. His principled leadership and his pursuit of excellence are but two of the characteristics that are identified when friends, colleagues, and athletes comment on his legacy to athletics at Queen’s.
While Rolf’s presence among us is sadly missed, his influence on our programs continues to serve as a reminder of his time with us.