1963, The organization was first called Hub City Minor Football and the Nanaimo Redmen won the 1963 Little Grey Cup. The team was coached by Ed Burke and a player, Wayne Squire (RCMP retired), donated his team jacket to the club.
In the early 70’s the Jr. Bantam and Bantam teams were established and some of the players who played in the Jr. Bantam House League and at the Bantam level were Jim Lynch, Mark Renton, Jim Mills and Louis Dubyna.
In 1976 Al Francis became the first President of Football Nanaimo and the Nanaimo Headhunters were formed which included players from 17 – 20 years of age. This team played in the Junior B League, which would have been just a step below the present BCJFL. The first coach of the team was Dave McLeod with Howie Gade as the team manager. The second coach was Fraser Yule. Our home games were at Beban Park and the practices were held at NDSS. The Headhunters recruited from Duncan to Parksville just to get enough players for the game, but Al Francis made sure we had a lot of trophies to hand out at the end of the year! The Junior B league existed for about five years.
Robin Monk became President later in the 70’s and was the driving force behind the construction of the football field at May Bennett Park. The field is still in fine shape today thanks to Robin’s attention to detail during its construction. Later the field was dedicated to Robin Monk Jr. who died in a logging accident.
Grant Renton and Jim Lynch started coaching football in the late seventies and both men spent many years involved with Football Nanaimo .Jim was President in 1983 and 1988 and helped coach the Bantam team to an Island title in 1987.Jim left in the early 90’s and was one of the founding members of Oceanside Football in Parksville along with Joe Martino who managed the Nanaimo Midget Redmen in the mid 90’s.
Grant served as both a coach and/or a board member and was President in 2001 , dedicating over 20 years to football and the youth of Nanaimo. He was one of the central figures at Football Nanaimo and his experience and countless hours of service helped ensure that the organization would continue to provide a positive experience to players and fellow volunteers.
Jerry McWhinnie began his involvement with Football Nanaimo in the late 80’s and over the next decade helped to expand and improve the facilities at May Bennett Park as the organization continued to grow. There were now teams at the Jr. Bantam, Bantam and Midget levels and more room was required. Gaming revenues helped create a starting point for improvement. Jim Lynch was largely responsible for establishing a positive relationship with Commonwealth Bingo. Along with efforts provided by accountant and Football Nanaimo treasurer Fred McCreath, and land donated by the City of Nanaimo, the organization had reached the starting point for the construction of the Football Nanaimo Clubhouse. Jerry took on the challenge of seeing the project through to completion and local contractors Braun and Dyck created it. Today the clubhouse is used for the day to day operations of the club, equipment storage, meetings and registration.
The lights on one side of the field and the field tower were other improvements to the facility as a result of Jerry’s initiative, along with the help of Glen Calder and other executive members at that time. Glen was responsible for locating the present goal posts in Oregon and having them shipped up to Nanaimo and installed at the field. He also lent a hand with any task around the clubhouse for years before finally leaving for Victoria to oversee the new photo radar program.
Jerry received the Builder’s Award from Football B.C. in 1999 and was also honoured by the City of Nanaimo for contributions to the City through sports while at Football Nanaimo.
The Silva family, father Vince and son Todd also dedicated many years to Football Nanaimo. Vince coached and was an executive member while Todd played up until 1990 and then began coaching himself. Todd resigned as Defensive Coordinator of the Nanaimo Redmen in 2002 after 20 years with the organization. A trophy has been named in honour of the Silva family for their commitment to Football Nanaimo.
Football Nanaimo hosted the B.C. Championships in 2000 and President Kim Burden took on the task, with the help of Grant Renton and directors Git Lim and Howard Quinn, to have lights installed on the other side of the field as well, creating a great football environment year round.