The Acadia Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to induct former athletes who left their mark on the Acadia University athletics program. Induction ceremonies will take place Saturday, October 17th, honouring those from various teams. I had the opportunity to interview the 1994 All-Canadian football star, Larry Jusdanis. After breaking numerous records at Acadia, Jusdanis played professionally in the Canadian Football League (CFL). He was drafted by the B.C. Lions and then traded to the Hamilton Tiger Cats, which brought him back to his home town. He was the first Canadian quarterback to start a CFL game in 25 years. Beyond football, Jusdanis applied his love of athletics to business as the founder and owner of the successful strength and conditioning training business, Sports Specific Training (S.S.T.).
How does it make you feel to be inducted into Acadia’s Sports Hall of Fame? Well, I was obviously very honoured and it was the same week I was invited to be inducted into my high school. Again, I was extremely honoured to be chosen by a great school, along with a great bunch of athletes.
Were you recruited by other universities to play football and if so, what made you choose Acadia?
I went to Central Florida first, and then I lost my scholarship due to an injury. Nick Richards, Dan Laramaee, and Eric Cederberg were the guys I met on my recruiting trip to Acadia when I came back from Florida. Plenty of other schools recruited me, but I fell in love with Acadia! When you were a student playing football at Acadia, what was a typical day like for you? I went to class just like you would normally. Most of my classes were early in the morning. After I’d go to my room to work, workout, go to football practice, and then go to my room again at around eight o’clock to finish homework.
I’m sure it was a challenge balancing varsity football, academics, and a social life. How did you manage?
My good coach, Sonny Wolfe, told me that “there were three things you could do in university: you could party, go to school, and play football. You can only do two out of the three well.” I believed you could do all average. Have fun – because university is meant to be a fun experience – you can balance it all with sufficient time management. University is not that hard if you attend class and apply effort you will succeed, you will be fine.
How did playing football at Acadia inspire you and shape the rest of your life; and what life lessons did you learn while playing Acadia football?
I don’t think I would specifically say “Acadia football,” just football in general. In my opinion, football is the best team sport in which anyone could ever get involved. In football, you’re on the field working with twelve guys in a unit and you can’t let that unit of yours down. It’s the same when you are working with business people in the community. It’s also similar to individuals in the military: if you’re carrying your unit and you let someone down, someone dies. Football instills in you a lot of different and great characteristics; such as, discipline, time management, working together, and coping. Maybe you don’t agree with someone, but you have to work through it as a team to make the situation better. Football is probably the best sport there is for teaching life skills. To be honest, if you asked numerous people in the work force who played at least high school, if not college football, they would agree with me.
Is there anything else special about your time at Acadia that you would like to share?
Acadia is a great place. It’s a great university, because not only are the professors great, but the small teacher to student is small and the classroom environment is amazing. When you go to university you go to get an education, but you also need to have an exceptional experience and Acadia does offer that. I remember the beautiful summers in Wolfville, and the perfect small town effect that makes it such a great place to live. Every student should enjoy their time at Acadia. I cherish that I made life-long friends during my time there. To this day, I’m close friends with fellow football teammates Grant Davy, Lee Barette, Dave Stefnitz, and Mike Balint. All of us being inducted into the Hall of Fame have been friends for a long time, and it’s like a family reunion. You create a special bond when you play not only football, but any kind of sport.