From the field to the Bachelor

Brad Smith and other former Gaels in the public sphere

Brad Smith played for the Edmonton Eskimos before being cast as Canada’s first Bachelor.
Brad Smith played for the Edmonton Eskimos before being cast as Canada’s first Bachelor.
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Former Gaels wide receiver Brad Smith may be a free agent in the CFL, but if he plays his cards right, he won’t be a free agent on the love market for much longer.

Smith has been chosen to star on the first season of The Bachelor Canada, which will air this fall on CityTV. Without a CFL team to play for in 2012, he’ll instead spend his spring surrounded by 25 eligible bachelorettes, passing out roses rather than receiving passes.

The executives of the show are aiming to attract viewers through Smith’s combination of charm and athleticism.

One of the top Gaels’ wide receivers of all-time, Smith graduated from Queen’s in 2007 after earning two CIS All-Canadian honours during his university career.

He was drafted 44th overall by the Toronto Argonauts in the 2007 CFL Draft, later playing for the Montreal Alouettes and the Edmonton Eskimos.

While Smith’s career path is unconventional for a former CIS athlete, it’s not uncommon for Queen’s athletes to experience fame following their Gaels careers.

Inspired by Smith, here are four former Queen’s Gaels in the public eye:

Mike Schad

An ex-Gael offensive lineman who enjoyed the football spotlight in the U.S. rather than in Canada. The big man from Belleville, Ont. is the only player in CIS history to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Schad was selected 23rd overall by the L.A. Rams in 1986, where he played from 1987-88. He was then traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, where he retired in 1993. Over his career, Schad played in 62 NFL games for the Rams and Eagles.

Rod Smith

The TSN sportscaster played offensive guard for the Queen’s football team in the late 1970s. The anchor of the weeknight edition of SportsCentre, Smith joined the Gaels in 1979, a year after Queen’s clinched its second Vanier Cup championship. Smith joined TSN in 1987 and has been a mainstay on SportsCentre since 1995, previously serving as a play-by-play announcer for the CFL on TSN and several CIS championship games.

Jock Climie

The CFL on TSN studio analyst starred as a receiver for Queen’s in the late 1980s. In 1988, Climie set the CIS single-season record for receiving yards with 1,091. A member of the Queen’s Football Hall of Fame, Climie played 12 seasons in the CFL, earning his law degree from Queen’s over the course of six winter semesters and off-seasons. A practicing lawyer, Climie joined TSN as a football analyst following his retirement in 2001.

Kate McKenna

Former Queen’s goalkeeper currently works for the CFL as an online host and content producer. McKenna played for the Gaels’ women’s soccer team and graudated from Queen’s Concurrent Education program in 2008. She has previously worked for TSN, CBC Sports and the Hamilton Spectator. and served as the host of Ticats TV for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during the 2010 CFL season.

— Nick Faris and Peter Morrow

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