Greg Vavra - Quarterback - 1984-88 - University of Calgary
Dan Barnes Edmonton Journal - 23-06-2008
In the Canadian Football League, homegrown quarterback stories always include a where-are-they-now component.
They are incredibly rare, after all, and the few who have earned a sniff just never last. It doesn't, however, doom these men to irrelevance off the field and Greg Vavra is abundant proof that a good, fulfilling life awaits after even the briefest of pro football careers.
He is 47, physically fit, intelligent, committed to his family and community. After a five-year stint in the CFL wrapped in 1988, he earned a law degree to accompany one in commerce and now heads a small, family-run oil and gas company in Calgary. He stays close to the game as offensive co-ordinator for his alma mater, the University of Calgary Dinosaurs, whose alumni and fans regard him as perhaps their best player ever. Since that isn't quite enough activity to fill every waking moment, Vavra was in Edmonton on the weekend, lured back to one of his three CFL home cities by another personal passion, coaching baseball. He's an assistant with the Calgary Longhorns, who fell short of the final in a midget AAA tournament Sunday.
Long ago Vavra reconciled the brevity of his career with his talents, leaving no room for bitterness.
"With my skill set I think I got as much out of it as I possibly could have," said the former Eskimo, Stampeder and Lion. "I was a journeyman-type player. I think if a break here or there could have gone my way, I would have played a lot longer than I did. But I had a great experience. I don't have any regrets."
He was a formidable, three-sport athlete as a teenager -- football, hockey and baseball -- and a fierce competitor throughout; a Vanier Cup and Hec Crighton Award winner who now derives his competitive fix from the sides of the diamond and the field.
"Coaching does it for me. You get released or you decide to finish your career and you always think you could play a few more years. By the time you hit about 35 you think, 'I did my thing, now it's time for me to give back,' and that's where I am right now."
The 1980s was an impressive decade for Dinos
football. Phenomenon quarterback Greg Vavra was one of the most
influential players from this period, leading the Dinos from 1979 to 1983
and putting the University of Calgary's football team in the national
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