Proudfoot Corner: How Milt Dunnell unwittingly helped a young reporters career

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For Proudfoot Corner this year, we’re sharing our favourite memories of Milt Dunnell and Jim Proudfoot, two who would definitely be on our Mount Rushmore of Toronto Star sports columnists. It’s part of what we’re doing for the sports department’s contribution to the Star’s Santa Claus fund, which was renamed Proudfoot Corner after the columnist’s death in 2001.I had the privilege of working beside Milt on an assignment after I had just graduated from university.Pushing for attention on a crowded sports scene in the fall of 1993 (keep in mind, the Jays just won their second World Series, and the Leafs had started the season with 10 straight wins) was a great Cinderella story, a plucky University of Toronto Varsity Blues football team playing in the Vanier Cup for the Canadian championship.About nine months before the season started, the school announced plans to shut down the program due to budget cutbacks before team veterans rallied support and alumni stepped in. The team hadn’t tasted much success in years, but the miraculous last-minute save seemed to spur the team on to great heights on the gridiron.Article Continued BelowI covered the team for the Star during their dream season, and was honoured when Milt decided he would also be writing from the big night game at Rogers Centre (then known as SkyDome). I’ll never forget my growing sense of panic as the last seconds of the exciting game ticked away, with deadline rushing at me like a runaway train. Meanwhile, Milt was calmly tapping away on his laptop.He had been witness to it all, of course, from chronicling Muhammad Ali’s win over George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungleto Game 7 of the 1940 World Series. So this thriller of a game unfolding at the dome didn’t faze him one bit.

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