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Sportswriter, mentor Glenn (Coach) Cole dies
By DAVE FULLER - Toronto Sun


Former Sun sportswriter/editor Glenn Cole poses with former Sun employee Mariana Di Rezze. (Toronto Sun file photo)


TORONTO - Glenn Cole, an institution on the Montreal sports scene for three decades, and a Toronto Sun sportswriter and editor for another 10 years -- and the Sun's wrestling writer -- passed away early Friday morning in Brantford, Ont.

Cole, known as "Coach" to everyone who knew him, was 63.

Cole, who grew up in Montreal, started covering sports for the Sir George Williams University newspaper in the early 1970s, joining The Canadian Press a few years later, where Scott Abbott -- now owner and governor of the Ontario Hockey League’s Brampton Battalion and co-inventor of Trivial Pursuit -- would also land a job.

"Glenn was a hard-working reporter and a selfless teammate," Abbott said.

"We worked alongside each other for years and frequented the Montreal Press Club together for most of that time.

"I’d drive him home to Notre Dame de Grace at whatever hour we were done. He had the Canadiens’ season schedule committed to memory in no time after it was released. He could tell you who refereed every game."

Cole also wrote for the Sunday Express before landing a sportswriting gig at the Montreal Gazette, and later becoming sports editor of the Montreal Daily News. At the same time, the life-time bachelor was a part-time colour analyst on Montreal Canadiens radio broadcasts, working beside Dick Irvin and Ron Reusch.

If that didn’t keep Cole busy enough, he also kept game statistics for the NHL’s head office in Montreal, where he earned his nickname, "Coach."

"Every year, the NHL staff would play the Montreal media in a hockey game. Glenn was our coach," said Benny Ercolani, chief statistician for the NHL. "Coach had a lot of influence on a lot of peoples’ lives."

One of those people -- Battalion president Mike Griffin -- first met Cole in the mid-1970s when Griffin tended goal for Concordia University.

"Glenn just loved sports -- baseball ... you name it. But hockey was his favourite," said Griffin. "He had a huge heart, too."

Cole joined the Toronto Sun on Nov. 30, 1991 -- writing hockey notebooks, doing a weekly wrestling column, mentoring junior reporters and editing copy.

"Everyone who met the Coach loved him," said former Sun sports editor Scott Morrison, who hired Cole.

"He often gave the impression of being the gruff editor, but deep down he had a heart of gold and loved to help out the young kids in the newsroom.

"I first got to know him in the '80s when I covered some of the Canadiens playoff series. Many a night, after we had filed our stories, we would sit in the press room afterwards, have a beer or two, and talk hockey and the newspaper business.

"As close as he was to the Canadiens, he wasn’t afraid to call it the way he saw it and always in a respectful way.

"He was a pro."

During Cole’s time at the Sun he also worked for TSN and Molstar as chief statistician on their NHL broadcasts.

An informal service for Coach Glenn Cole will be held 9:30 a.m., Saturday morning at the McCleister Funeral Home (www.mccleisterfuneralhome.ca), 495 Park Road North, in Brantford.