Entr’acte (Part II): Merci Beaucoup Mes Amis

Here is the second installment in my two-part “Entr’acte” blog post that covers off my imminent departure from McGill Redmen Football.  Without further delay, here are some of the people I’d like express some special thanks toward:

Chuck McMann – The man who hired me without a formal interview or introduction.  I stumbled into his office in 2006 as a wide-eyed freshmen and immediately started a journey that would lead me from being an equipment assistant to a young and aspiring university-level football coach.

Sonny Wolfe – “Class act.”  “Professional.” “Mentor.” One of the men in my life who has undoubtedly helped to mold me into a person of integrity and grit.  There are certain ways that you must think about and interact with people in life if you want to change, coach, and make those people better off.  There were so many losses during his tenure as head coach, yet never a sign of giving up the cause.  I am a grounded young person with a clear view of the realities of football and life thanks largely in part to this guy.

Clint Uttley – The new sheriff in town.  I owe him for the fact that he stuck with me as a young football coach for several years, even during times when I was facing significant personal struggle and acting impatiently.  While there are some doubters about his appointment (he’s a unilingual anglophone operating in a bilingual city, surrounded by a french province), everyone should know this: he has made incredible personal sacrifices during his time at McGill thus far and is invested thoroughly in the program’s future.  The big moves that he’s made already are only the beginning of the next phase of the program’s transition back to power.

Danny Laramee – While I was only able to work under Coach Laramee for one season (this past one), I feel so fortunate to have been able to pitch my tent at the foot of his mountain of football intelligence.  He is, in my view, one of the best coaches in Canada who has never been a CIS head coach.  Hopefully, his opportunity will come soon – I am ten times wiser for having worked for him and consider him one of my most trusted and influential mentors.

 

2011 Coaching Staff
2011 Coaching Staff – Photo by Gary Rush

Pat and Mickey Donovan – Question: how do you jack up a university football program and enhance the calibre of both returning and incoming talent?  Answer: you let this dynamic duo of coaching brothers call shots and make sh*t happen!  Two young coaching superstars, both revered and respected by all who have crossed their paths as either players or coaches, they are going to be foundational pillars for the program in the upcoming years.  Their extremely intense yet fun-filled “player’s coach” approach to the game will lead to McGill winning many recruiting battles and even more tight games.  I have never seen players play harder for anyone else.  My interactions with these two has made me a tremendously more confident person – an effect that they project onto many.

Pat Boies – The new kid on the block is also a stud coach.  One of Quebec’s own football sons, I can’t wait for his uptempo brand of offense to take the field next fall.  It’s fast, it’s user-friendly, and it’s a b*&tch to defend.  I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to learn his system and I will be walking away from the program with ideas I will keep in my toolbox for the rest of my career.

Charles-Antoine Sinotte – I fill with pride when I think about the friendship that we have built over the years of being together in the program.  C-A has me beat by two weeks when it comes to the length of our tenures in the program – we are the two longest-serving members of the staff (excluding Coach Wolfe and his first coaching stint with the team in the late ’70s and early ’80s).  What an outstanding young person he’s become.  I still remember the skinny, quiet, could-barely-speak-any-English freshman from Trois Rivières who was starting as the boundary wide-out in his first year.  A gifted teacher with seemingly endless passion for what he does, his ceiling as a coach is truly limitless.  Watch out world!

Anthony Lukca – Anthony is no longer with the Redmen program (he’s now the defensive coordinator at CÉGEP Champlain St.-Lambert on the south shore of the city) but was a member of the team, as a player and then as a coach, throughout my stay at McGill.  A bright young player’s coach, he has a long career ahead of him that will (like myself!) hopefully lead him back to the Red n’ White.  While I’m happy to call him a coaching colleague, I’m proud to say that he’s one of my best friends and biggest supporters.  Many, many thanks Lukca Tony!

Sadly, I can’t feasibly highlight everyone who has impacted me in one blog post.  There are many other people out there who deserve ample credit for the things they showed me, shared with me, and guided me on through the years.  Undoubtedly, there will be a time when I can extend my thanks more thoroughly to those people.

2012 McGill Redmen

2011 McGill Redmen – Photo by Gary Rush

On a final note, I want to express my pride in, and extend my thanks to, all of the Redmen both past and present who I’ve met and worked with.  We’ve had an incredibly difficult last several years in trying to win games in the toughest amateur football conference in Canada.  Regardless, the commitment to the cause by those who have continued to carry the torch forward has been equally special.  The day the ship turns around completely and sets sail in its prosperous direction is not that far in the future – keep working guys!  Wake up everyday and imagine yourself as the people of change.  You will “be the change that you want to see” to quote Mahatma Gandhi.  Every day in life is a challenge and an opportunity, much like football it’s a game of little things adding up perfectly.  Win each challenge you face; those wins will pile up day-in and day-out and will  manifest themselves on the field every time you go out and compete.

This is not goodbye, only farewell.  Until next we meet McGill…

 

MB

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