Two dedicated supporters of minor football who call the Central Okanagan home will be honoured this spring at the B.C. Lions’ annual Orange Helmet Awards.
West Kelowna’s Joe Gluska will receive the Bob Ackles Lifetime Achievement Award, while Kelowna’s Kendall Gross will be recognized as the Community Coach of the Year.
Gluska, the president of B.C. Community Football, has been involved amateur football in the province for more than 50 years as a player, coach and executive.
Gluska has been president of the BCCFA since 2000 and has overseen the creation of the 9-man provincial championship. He is also one of the main forces responsible for the exponential growth of flag football in the province.
This past June, the provincial flag championship tournament in Kelowna featured more than 1,200 players on 116 teams.
Gross, meanwhile, was head coach of the Kelowna Mission Lions who went unbeaten ins 2014, capping the season with the B.C. peewee division championship.
Gross has coached his teams to three provincial titles in five years—two in tackle and one in flag.
He has served the Kelowna Minor Football Association in various capacities over the last several years, including director, treasurer, registrar and coach.
Peewee Lions’ assistant coach Dean Kennedy wrote the following about Gross in the nomination form:
“Kendall’s determination to grow strong winning football teams and a strong winning league is not just an individual goal, he wishes it for all teams in the KMFA and he’s backed that up by taking a strong stance at the board level over the years from director, to treasurer, to registrar,” Kennedy wrote. “Kendall is no slouch on the football field either and his record speaks for itself.
“He has a winning spirit that is both contagious and inspiring and he imparts that attitude on his players and fellow coaches. He is respected in the community, a strong family man and believes in everyone and has no problem letting you know it and believing it too.”
Both Gross and Gluska will be formally honoured at the Orange Helmet Awards April 15 at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver.