Thomas Lee (Terry) Weatherall
Born: February 26, 1922 (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
Died: May 30, 2014 (Toronto)
Terry Weatherall, a career military officer, was an Olympic coach for Canada in boxing and gymnastics. He also coached Canada’s national soccer team in the 1960s.
Born in Northern Ireland, Weatherall took up boxing as a young man, winning bantamweight (1939) and featherweight (1940) titles in Ireland. He joined the Royal Army during the Second World War, serving in Gibraltar, Northern Africa and Italy. A member of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, he also won an amateur Allied Forces championship during the war.
In Algiers in 1944, he fought a six-round, no-decision bout against Marcel Cerdan of Algeria, a professional fighter with the Free French Navy who after the war claimed the world middleweight championship. Cerdan died in a plane crash in 1949. Years later, Weatherall called him a “rough, tough customer.”
“(Cerdan) was a great puncher and opportunist,” Weatherall told the Winnipeg Free Press in 1959. “You couldn’t drop your guard for a second or he would nail you for the long count.”
After the war, Weatherall studied art in Italy before being conscripted to fight the Malayan insurgency.
After demobilization, he attended Loughborough College at Leicestershire, England, where he completed a physical education and teaching program. He was then hired by Ashbury College, a private school in Ottawa, as an English and phys ed teacher. In 1956, he was accepted as an instructor in the Canadian Army, teaching boxing as part of hand-to-hand combat training. Weatherall coached army teams in boxing, gymnastics, and track and field.
The “chunky, bull-shouldered Irishman, built close to the canvas as they say in the world of boxing,” was profiled by the Free Press in 1959, the year in which he served as a coach for Canada at the Pan American Games in Chicago. He was also a coach at the 1967 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg.
The warrant officer coached the Canadian boxing team at the 1964 Olympic Games at Tokyo.
Weatherall was hired as head coach of the Canadian national men’s soccer team in 1967. The ambition was to qualify for the 1968 Olympic Games at Mexico, but a 1-1 draw followed by a 2-1 loss in Edmonton to Cuba ended that dream.
In 1968, he began the first of a four-year program conducting soccer clinics across the land, the foundation of many contemporary soccer programs.
After retiring from coaching, he owned a rent-a-car business and a travel agency, but was better known in Toronto as a collector and dealer of 18th- and 19th-Century paintings.
He died at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, aged 92.