Babcock, Bombino and rugby rookie shine for Oshawa’s Durham College at OCAA gala

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Published May 30, 2023 at 3:48 pm

Ken Babcock (left), Emily Cooper and Stan Bombino were honoured by the OCAA earlier this month

The ‘old’ and the new at Durham College got their due earlier this month with two members of the college family enshrined in the OCAA Hall of Fame while a third was honoured for her rookie exploits this season on the rugby field.

Durham College and its tradition of athletic excellence was recognized by the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association at a ceremony in Windsor with recently retired and long-time Athletics Director Ken Babcock and former (and long-time) men’s soccer coach Stan Bombino given Hall of Fame honours, while Emily Cooper earned her moment in the spotlight as the OCAA Female Rookie of the Year for the 2022-23 season.

“It was a night of celebration,” said Babcock, who was humbled by his entry into the Hall of Fame. The event also served as his unofficial retirement celebration, allowing him to reunite with a number of the administrators, coaches and athletes he has worked with over the years.

Bombino’s stellar coaching career had already earned him a place in the Durham College Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. In 16 years as head coach of the men’s soccer team he led them to an impressive record of 119-66-20. They collected multiple provincial medals during his tenure, as well as a national bronze in 1999.

“It certainly was a surprise,” he said. “I’m very appreciative of being nominated.”

Though the two Hall of Famers have moved on, Cooper has only just begun her college athletics journey. Her remarkable rookie season included 34 tries in 18 games and 170 points, second only to her teammate Shay Morris. She played a key role in the team’s march to an undefeated season and OCAA championship.

“This award means the world to me and being able to win with my team this season means even more,” she said. I feel honoured to be winning this award out of all of the fantastic athletes in the OCAA.”

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