MARQUETTE, Mich. – Former Northern Michigan University director of athletics Gildo Canale has passed away. Visitation will be Tuesday (March 3) from 4-8 p.m. at Canale-Tonella Funeral Home. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Wednesday (March 4) at 11 a.m. at St. Peter Cathedral.
Gildo Canale served Northern Michigan University from 1959-92. He began his NMU career as NMU’s first full-time trainer. He also served as director of intramurals, head golf coach, assistant athletic director and was appointed director of athletics in 1971. Canale served as director of athletics until 1985.
During his tenure as director of athletics:
*Established ice hockey as an intercollegiate varsity sport at the Division I level. The team reached the NCAA Frozen Four twice after winning two Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) titles.
*Won the 1975 NCAA II football championship and appeared in the playoffs five other times.
*Made four appearances in the NCAA II post-season basketball tournament.
*NMU teams reached the national championship and earned all-American honors in gymnastics, swimming and wrestling.
*Expanded the women’s program to national competition.
Canale served on several NCAA committees and was director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) events held on the NMU campus.
He was a MHSAA athletic official in football, basketball and track from 1952-95, was an Upper Peninsula championship official in cross country and track from 1968-91 and was a college basketball official from 1959-72.
Canale was named to both the Northern Michigan University Sports Hall of Fame (1983) and to the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame (1987). He received the NMU Alumni Service Award in 1995.
The Crystal Falls, Mich. native was an Air Force veteran, earned his bachelor’s degree from Northern in 1956 and earned a master’s from Indiana University in 1957. Canale was a teacher and a coach at Munising High School for two years (1957-59) before returning to his alma mater.
The NMU Athletic Department has awarded the Gildon Canale Award to a senior male and female student-athlete yearly since 1982. The award-winner must have competed in intercollegiate athletics for four years at NMU, have a superior academic record and exhibit high character.
His other activities included the Knights of Columbus, Chamber of Commerce, American Legion, Eagles Club Marquette Golf Club, Golden Wildcat Club and the NMU Alumni Association.
His family included wife, Joyce, sons, Mark and Brad, and daughter, Kristy.
Friends of Gildo Canale: If you would like to make a gift to the Canale Scholarship in honor of Gildo Canale, please go to the NMU Foundation online giving page. You will need to input the scholarship name for the “Contribution Options” field, using the “Other” option. Thank you for your gift and support of Northern Michigan University.
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Sports Information Director