The Canadian Football League’s loss was Belleville’s gain in the early 1970′. After Paul Paddon won the Hec Crighton Award as the country’s top university football player, it was predicted he would go on to a career in the professional league. That assessment came from none other than his coach at the University of Ottawa, Bob O’Billovich, who would go on to the CFL as a highly successful coach himself. All the 23-year-old Gee Gees quarterback did in 1970 was complete 60 per cent of his passes, throw for 20 touchdowns and rack up 1,800 passing yards in nine games. However, the St. Thomas native didn’t move on to the CFL. Instead, he came to Belleville in 1971 and took a teaching position at Quinte Secondary School, a post he’s held ever since.
During that time he’s coached track and field, soccer, basketball and many other sports, but his first love remains football. “Everybody gets knocked down, but players get up and play,” Paddon’s been heard to say. In 1993, he took his passion for the game to area elementary schools and helped create the Belleville Minor Football League. In 1971, Paddon’s first year at QSS, he coached the school’s football team to a Bay of Quinte championship. He repeated the feat in 1995 and 1996.
However, what may have marked the man as a hall-of-famer was his sportsmanship and dedication to the game and his team during the years in between. During the intervening years he’s also starred in the Belleville Touch Football League, quarterbacking several championship teams. He continues to make his home in Belleville with wife Valerie and children Jamie and Kelly. Kelly was a regular defenceman with the 1998-99 OHL Champion Belleville Bulls0