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Capilano trio enters CCAA Hall of Fame

Two coaches, one player from powerhouse soccer program earn national honours
Capilano University athletic director Milt Williams (left) with 2017 CCAA Hall of Fame inductees Doug Abercrombie, Melissa Artuso and Joe Iacobellis. photo Capilano University

The Canadian Colleges Athletic Association Hall of Fame got a fresh coat of blue this year as three Capilano Blues were amongst the 10 people inducted during a ceremony held recently in Abbotsford.

Longtime coach and athletic director Joe Iacobellis, soccer coach Doug Abercrombie, and soccer player Melissa Artuso all earned their spots in the CCAA Hall of Fame this year.

Iacobellis made a huge mark at Capilano, starting as a coach and later serving as athletic director for more than two decades. He’ll go into the hall as a coach, however, honoured for winning three national titles and two national silvers during his 18-year reign with the men’s soccer team. The Blues made the national final four straight seasons from 1988 to 1991, with Iacobellis earning the CCAA coach of the year award in 1991.

At the provincial level the Blues won nine BCCAA titles under Iacobellis and he was named coach of the year twice. He also built the Capilano women’s volleyball program from scratch and led the team to provincial gold in 1985. In 2009 Iacobellis was named the CCAA Athletic Director of the Year.

Abercrombie scored similar success with the Capilano women’s soccer team, earning five national titles and one national silver during his 16-year tenure. The Blues won national titles in Abercrombie’s first two years on the job and went to the CCAA final in six of his first seven years at Capilano. Abercrombie also won eight provincial titles and was twice named the BCCAA Coach of the Year.

Artuso goes into the Hall of Fame in the athlete category. The three-time CCAA All-Canadian was named national player of the year in 1996 and won national titles in 1995 and ’96, earning tournament all-star status each year.

Melissa – one of three Artuso sisters to play at Capilano along with Diana and Michelle – scored 30 goals in 31 games with the Blues and was named BCCAA Player of the Year in 1994 and 1996.

All three Capilano honourees helped the Blues earn the CCAA 25-year Soccer Supremacy Award which was awarded to the program in 1999.

The CCAA Hall of Fame was established in 2014 and Iacobellis, Abercrombie and Artuso are the first three Capilano representatives elected.