Nick Volpe, Mississauga educator and Toronto Argonauts Grey Cup hero, dies at 95
Published August 23, 2021 at 6:00 pm
Nick Volpe, who had a hand in public education in Mississauga and played a hero’s role with his foot in one of the Toronto Argonauts’ most famous Grey Cup victories, has died.
Volpe, who was 95 years old, died on Sunday, the Argonauts said in a media release. No cause of death was given. The former Argo resided in Mississauga, where he had retired after serving as a a school superintendent in Peel Region. He worked in the same role in Halton Region.
He was part of seven Argonauts championships — two as a player and five as a team employee.
As an educator, his first teaching position was at Port Credit Secondary School in 1949, the same year that he joined the Argonauts as a kicker who also played safety on defence and was a backup quarterback. Over his four seasons, he helped Toronto win the Grey Cup twice.
In 1950, he kicked two field goals and made a touchdown-saving tackle on defence to help Toronto defeat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 13-0 in the infamous ‘Mud Bowl’ game at Varsity Stadium. The grass field was so heavily saturated with rainwater that the players were in physical jeopardy.
Canadian Football League commissioner Randy Ambrosie said that Volpe “liked to tell the story about the time he almost drowned playing in the 1950 Mud Bowl.” Facemasks were not worn in football in that era, and accounts of the game have also held that a player who was face-down in a puddle on the sideline nearly drowned.
Nick Volpe liked to tell the story about the time he almost drowned playing in the 1950 Mud Bowl, in which he led the Argos to a Grey Cup victory. His passion for the game and for his beloved boatmen never waned. He is already missed. https://t.co/vv12IfYy12
— Randy Ambrosie (@RandyAmbrosie) August 23, 2021
After his playing career, Volpe coached the Argos’ farm team, Toronto Balmy Beach, leading the club to an Ontario Rugby Football Union championship in 1953.
Volpe taught physical education and Latin at Port Credit Secondary School and was later the head of the school’s phys-ed department, before moving up to the board level.
He was an isolation director for Canadian Television Network (CTV) football telecasts from 1972 to ’87.
In 1988, he rejoined the Argonauts as their player personnel director. He spent several seasons as their head of Canadian scouting and was part of their staff for Grey Cup wins in 1991, ’96, ’97, 2004 and 2012.
Volpe and his wife, Rose Marie, had five children. He was also a member of the University of Toronto’s sports hall of fame, having helped the Varsity Blues win the Yates Cup in 1948.
— with files from The Canadian Pressinsauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising