Year of Birth: N/A

Category: Builder

Year of Induction: 2010




Pre-eminent Hamilton Coach from the 1920`s into the 1960`s. Born in Scotland, John Richardson Cornelius came over to Ontario (Hamilton) and began his coaching exploits after WW1. In the 1920’s he coached with the YMCA, Central Collegiate and The Hamilton Olympic Club. He was the coach for the 1924 and 1928 Olympic teams (the latter being a Hamilton affair with fellow HOC representatives M.M.Robinson as team Manager and Bobby Kerr as team Captain – both inducted last year) that included a number of his local and later HOC athletes. The women’s section also began in the 1920`s under his tutelage, including some on the first women`s International team (like Velma Springstead). His athletes were successful in the 1930’s at both the Olympic level (Ray Lewis and Betty Taylor) and in British Empire Games.

At the school level, his Central Collegiate teams (he was head of Phys.Ed.) were a huge force at the Penn Relays, once setting three World records in a day. He also coached the McMaster University teams throughout the 1930`s into the 1950`s. He retired from teaching in 1950, but continued to coach until shortly before his death in the early 1960`s, even helping start a rival Hamilton club (Spartan T&F club) in 1959 which produced a few notable athletes. Named Hamilton`s Man of the Year in 1957, he also received one of the first Ontario Government Achievement Awards – recognizing his devotion to sports and his students.