Football coach, Michael Faulds, accepts contract extension

Head coach Michael Faulds, of the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, no longer has to worry what happens next come the end of the 2017-2018 football season.

Faulds agreed to a five-year contract extension, securing his place as the football bench boss through the 2022-2023 season. According to Faulds, Peter Baxter, the director of athletics and recreation, didn’t want that stress, so they sorted it out a year in advance.

“No one wants to go into the last year of their contract with that uncertainty,” Faulds said. “Get it all sorted out and just concentrate on football.”

The extension came after the Hawks finished last season 4-4 and secured a spot in the Ontario University Athletics playoffs. But they took it one step further — upsetting the McMaster Marauders 29-15 in the quarterfinals and booked their ticket to the OUA semifinals for the first time since 2010, while on the road.

Throughout Faulds three-year tenure, the squad progressed steadily — battling through the valleys and hills in a tumultuous first season where the Hawks finished 1-7. Faulds said that the season did have some positives though, playing in some close games and taking the Windsor Lancers and Queen’s Gaels to overtime.

The Hawks rebounded next season and finished with an overall record of 4-4. They made it to the playoffs but eventually lost to the Western Mustangs in the 2014 quarter-finals.

Laurier pressed forward in 2015, earning a semifinal berth as well as Faulds’ first playoff win since he took over as head coach.

That is one of the great things Faulds sees — a steady progression both on and off the field.

“Even though the last year it didn’t look like initially we were able to [progress], we ended up being even better than the year before. That’s the thing you want as a coach, you want to see progress both on and off the field and our guys have done that, too, inside the classroom,” Faulds said. “We have less guys that are in academic probation, less guys getting in trouble. They’re becoming winners on and off the field which is great to see.”

And in turn, Faulds created a culture, over the last three years, that the players and coaching staff bought into, in order to create a strong Laurier football program. According to Faulds, everyone is getting better at checking their egos at the door and remembering that everything they do is to make the Laurier football program the best program it could be.

“The great thing about football is nobody can do it alone,” Faulds explained. “I need a staff of 20 people around me to be able to do my job, a player needs the other 90 guys on the roster to help them do their job … So that’s the beauty of it and the culture that we have is ‘all hands on deck;’ we need everyone to be at their best to be successful.”

The other added benefit to the extension is that it aids in the recruiting process. Faulds said that one of the most important things in the process is being able to tell recruits that he will be their head coach for the whole time they are a student at Laurier.

“A common question that the recruits and their parents ask is “Are you going to be my coach for my four to five years,” and if I’m not able to tell them “yes,” then sometimes they are a bit worried of having to go through a transition,” he explained.

As the 2016-2017 season draws closer, Faulds is excited for the years to come, especially now that everyone on the roster is a player that the coaching staff has recruited.

“Looking further ahead at the next seven years, we’ll really be able to put our mark on it and hopefully bring some hardware back to Laurier,” Faulds said.

“I know the whole community is eager and hungry for another Yates Cup or Vanier Cup and we’re working tirelessly to try and get that to happen.”

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