Leighann Doan – Lawrence Bailey
What can be written that hasn’t been written before? Hers is a tale of greatness, with utterances of awe and admiration heard everywhere. Her final year was one of great promise under the watchful eyes of the entire nation. She did not disappoint. The year has come to pass, the accolades have risen to a crescendo and her triumphant five year reign has come to an end.
Leighann Doan was a giant in her time and a legend as she leaves. When her name was announced at Night of the Dino, everyone looked up. She got a standing round of applause not initiated by her team-mates or her coach. The applause came from the wrestlers, the soccer players and the football team. It’s as if everyone knew this was the last time they’d clap for Doan.
This was her fourth consecutive year as an all-Canadian, her fourth consecutive year as an academic all-Canadian and her second consecutive Nan Copp Award as the Outstanding Player of the Year in the CIAU.
Tues., April 3 at the Night of the Dino Awards Gala, Leighann strode across the stage to accept the award for Female Athlete of the Year. Also victorious in 1999/2000, Doan is only the second woman in the last two decades to win the award in back-to-back seasons. She had an outstanding season yet again, leading the CIAU in scoring with 21.5 points per game, adding 8.6 boards and 2.8 steals to her season totals. In Edmonton, she led the women’s basketball team on a march to a bronze medal at the National Championships, leaving nemesis, the University of Victoria Vikings, in their wake.
Trophies, medals and statistical records are all feats that can and in all likelihood will be duplicated. Leighann’s legacy is one of character, of personality and of leadership. She was gracious in victory as well as defeat, displaying the calm, determined focus that has become her trademark.
In press-box conversations with the Calgary media, terms like “class act”, “pure talent” and, above all else, “genuinely kind and caring” were the order of the day. The award for Female Athlete of the Year is the greatest tangible manifestation of the respect and appreciation a Dino can achieve. The true worth of Leighann Doan can be measured only in the electricity felt when she steps on the floor and the standing ovation when the final buzzer sounds.
Dean Fisher – Ryan Laverty
When the Dinos number-one running back went out with an injury suffered in the off-season, Head Coach Tony Fasano needed someone to step up and fill the hole. The man to do so was fifth-year back Dean Fisher, and after he filled the hole he built a fortress around it. Entering the season with a career average of just over 200 yards rushing per season, Fisher broke out for 1,062 yards on 180 carries and 13 touchdowns and led the Dinos to a 6-2 record.
“I was in Regina in the spring and all I was doing was taking classes and working out,” said Fisher. “I was by myself so it was a time of mental preparation as well as physical. All I was thinking about was the season.”
Upon his return to Calgary and the Dinos, Fisher soon realized that the injury to Alan Giacalone would put the onus on him to carry the running game. Fisher and the team were slow out of the blocks, dropping their first game of the season to the Regina Rams. But when he hit his stride the following week against the University of Saskatchewan, the rest of the team pinned their ears back and drafted right behind him.
“I think the biggest difference–what allowed me to have the season that I had–was just the opportunity to run,” remarked Fisher. “We had some unfortunate injuries to our running backs. Had they been healthy, my carries and yards would have been divided between three of us.”
“Despite what he says, we know that Deano was instrumental to our success this year,” said Giacalone.
Dean accomplished more in one season than many players will in an entire varsity career. His impressive stats led to him winning Canada West Player of the Week twice, and CIAU Player of the Week once. He was a unanimous conference all-star, Canada West Player of the Year and a nominee for the Hec Crighton Award for the nation’s most outstanding player. No player on any Dino team is more deserving of the title Athlete of the Year than Dean Fisher.
“It certainly is a nice way to leave the university,” he said. “I was surprised since I haven’t been around campus since Christmas (Fisher now works for his father). This is denitely icing on the cake.”
While fans were sad to see Dean complete his tour at the University of Calgary, he certainly finished in grand style. And even though he won’t be strapping on the pads this coming year, you can count on this alumnus to be on the sidelines helping his team any way he can.