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Ex-Gael helps to steer Kyle O’Hara to Queen’s

April 17, 2013
KYLE O'HARA

KYLE O’HARA

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

The first time Kyle O’Hara visited the Queen’s University campus, it had nothing to do with football.

“I was in middle school and we came to Kingston for a basketball tournament,” O’Hara said.

While he was here, his coach took the team on a tour of the campus. “That was my first taste of the Queen’s experience,” he said, “and from that I knew I wanted to come here.”

Tuesday, the defensive back from Ashbury College in Ottawa committed to spend at least the next four years at Queen’s, when he signed to play football for the Golden Gaels.

It wasn’t by random chance that those basketball players ended up touring Queen’s all those years ago. The coach of that team was Jon Landon, the former Golden Gaels star who went on to win a Grey Cup with the Toronto Argonauts.

“I loved the campus,” O’Hara said. “Everybody seemed friendly. I noticed that the support for athletics and athletes here is amazing. From there I knew that Queen’s was one of the top places I wanted to go.”

Landon, who grew up in Kingston, also coaches the Ashbury football team, and has coached O’Hara from Grade 9.

“He’s a really fun guy, a great coach. He connected with the players very well,” O’Hara said. “I could go to him with any problems I had. He was a huge factor in my development as a player … but he always told me that education was important as well.

“I know I’ll be receiving a world-class education here. I’m very happy to be part of this program.”

Gaels coach Pat Sheahan said Landon alerted him to O’Hara’s potential as a university football player — “he’s a fine athlete, big, physical, he runs well — a young Andrew Lue type of guy” — and as it turned out, Queen’s wasn’t a tough sell.

“By the time we reached him he very much had Queen’s on his mind,” Sheahan said. “His family is American, so the Ivy League brand of schooling was something that was important to them. I think our message struck a chord with them.”

O’Hara will be pursuing global studies, with an eye to one day entering law school.

He’s happy to be pursuing those studies in Canada, something about which he wasn’t so sure when he and his family arrived six years ago from Charlotte, N.C.

“I moved during the winter,” he recalled. “I was amazed by how much snow is here in Canada, and it’s cold every day. It was a huge adjustment for me but I’ve had a great experience here. I love living here and I want to stay in the future.”

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From → CIS football

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