Interview with Chris Flynn (SMU alumnus, Canadian Football Hall-of-Famer)
Chris Flynn is one of the most memorable players in Huskies history. Originally from Buckingham, Quebec, Chris played on the varsity team from 1987 to 1990 and led SMU to a 27-2 regular season record; four AUAA championships; and two Vanier Cup appearances. Following his time at SMU, he went on to have a successful professional football career in both Canada and Europe.
In 2011, Chris became the first ever Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) player to be inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. He was also voted the #1 CIS player of the past 50 years of Canadian University Football by Sportsnet.ca.
We spoke with Chris about his SMU experience and where his career has taken him since.
What initially drew you to attend university in Halifax?
Football was the initial attraction for me. But being from Quebec, I also wanted to go somewhere new and experience a different place. I loved Halifax and the Maritimes. I loved my whole experience with the school and the city.
Were your professors supportive of your football career?
At a lot of schools, you probably wouldn’t get to know your professors. But everyone was very approachable. I knew my professors. I knew the president. Football could be distracting — especially during the season — but all of my professors were very helpful and supportive. It was a great environment.
And you were drafted after you graduated from SMU?
I was actually drafted by the Montreal Machine in January of my fourth year. I hadn’t finished my year yet. I had one semester left. So six years later, after playing professional football, I moved back to Halifax in 1996 to complete my BA in Psychology. I was really proud of doing that. I went back full-time, helped coach the football team, and got my degree in the spring of 1997. I know a lot of people who never went back if they were drafted into a professional league out of university. But it was important for me to finish my degree.
How many years did you play professional football?
I played for the Montreal Machine for two years, from ’91-92. Then I went on to play in Europe for four years. Then I finished off playing for the Ottawa Rough Riders at the end of the ’96 season.
Where has your career path taken you since football?
After playing football, I started working in sales. I worked for several years for the Real Estate News Exchange. Now, my current position blends the two areas of my background: sales and football. I recently became the Director of Sponsorship for Football Canada in Ottawa.
What advice would you give to someone who is trying to decide what university to attend?
The atmosphere at Saint Mary’s was so close knit, almost like a family. I just thought it was a great place to go to school. And the city of Halifax is a great city, very welcoming and friendly. I would recommend SMU to anyone.