On Friday afternoon, Concordia Stingers athletic director Patrick Boivin officially opened up the vacant head coaching football position for all applicants.
For Boivin, this is his first big move since coming into power, given his strong business acumen, he has created a search committee to help him throughout this process. Instantly upon hearing this, I anointed this group as the "knights of the roundtable".
No question there are strong voices with Andre Bolduc, Sylvain Girard, and Liam Mahoney. This trio has a good pulse on the current situation considering they're prominent former players of the program.
However, this is where it becomes befuddling. To the surprise of many within the CIS community, the inclusion of former Stingers and current Queens Golden Gaels head coach, Pat Sheahan, and RSEQ member Tom Allen has raised a few eyebrows.
It could be argued that the Stingers last great run of dominance was under Sheahan in the late 90s. But how could any athletic program include a current CIS head coach of a school they recruit against on a yearly basis? Could anyone imagine if the Laval Rouge et Or asked Montreal Carabins head coach Danny Maciocia to be a part of their search committee if Glen Constantin decided to move on?
How does Sheahan now approach a top tier recruit who may be looking at Concordia? I would love to be a fly on the wall during his recruiting pitch while he doubles himself as a member of this search committee.
As for Allen, he has worked tirelessly to help elevate the RSEQ profile. However, there are those within the football community who have mixed reviews on his tenure. He has a past connection to the Bishop's Gaiters. If you're Concordia, would it not have made sense to bring on an important donor of the program to aide this search rather than Allen?
When the Stingers season mathematically ended in early October, when did Boivin realize that a change needed to happen towards the end of the agonizing Gerry McGrath era? Concordia is already behind the eight ball in the search for their next head coach as December is here.
The likely target date for a new head coach being named won't be until in the early part of the 2014 calendar year. This year's recruiting class will be handcuffed with no actual leader in-place to convince them to come to Concordia.
Furthermore, with spring camp not too far away, the new coach in charge will need to assemble a staff, and implement his systems, which would take a while to master considering these are not his very own recruits.
This program requires substantial upgrades in their image, facilities, and overall talent. Whomever assumes this task will need at least two years before they could become competitive. That is based on recruiting well in their backyard, which Concordia has failed to do so in the last few years.
The question that remains; does the athletic program have the deep money pockets needed to reel in a big name coach? Here are three candidates (in no particular order) that could be on the list.
Jacques Chapdelaine: The former B.C. Lions offensive coordinator parted ways with the CFL club. He has already become a hot name candidate in both leagues. In the CIS circles, according to multiple reports, Simon Fraser University (NAIA), the alumni would like bring back the former Clan star and are willing to shell out the dollars. But SFU administration could be looking elsewhere (Jeff Reinebold). Could the Stingers be interested? It would require a lot of finances to sway him to come back east. He did win the Rouge et Or's first ever Vanier Cup and it would add another intriguing storyline with his return to the RSEQ. The offense would be revolutionized into a modern day scheme. It will take a lot of convincing, but it is worth a phone call to gauge his interest.
Bryan Chiu: The current assistant has been a part of the current staff since 2010. He has grown into his position where he is well respected by the alumni, players, and fans. By popular vote, a lot of the players and fans hope Chiu gets an opportunity to lead this program. Some fans have imagined the staff he could put together in trying to revive this sagging program. Even without knowing what the future holds for many inside the football walls, Chiu continues to work in trying to better the team's situation. One has to wonder if himself and others on the staff are working for nothing if they will not be retained. If he is Concordia's top choice, it is better they notify him now than in January so he can start assembling his staff.
Brad Collinson: The former Stingers and current Rouge et Or assistant is one the few remaining links to the Stingers being relevant, but that was over a decade ago. Collinson has earned his stripes in helping Team Quebec win multiple gold medals at the nationals. He is a fantastic recruiter that has redirected the Vanier College pipeline from Concordia to Laval. With his time spent learning from Constantin, he will most certainly apply a new tough minded attitude to a sullen environment. Collinson knows what it takes to win (see his three Vanier Cup rings), he is charismatic, and media friendly. But could he be the white knight to save this descending program? They certainly need an infusion of optimism and he can bring it to the table.
Just 15 years ago, Concordia’s head coaching position was a desired job. Today, the program resembles little of its past glory years, and will surely take major renovations to help clean up the decaying mess. Certainly, if the Stingers are able to raise the capital within their alumni hierarchy, create an excitement among the remaining fan base, win back the recruiting territory, this program could be relevant in the near future.
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