Jeffries’ future in doubt

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(Photo by Nick Lachance)

Wilfrid Laurier’s men’s football team will likely see a shake up in the coaching staff in the near future, as speculations regarding the state of head coach Gary Jeffries rose quickly Monday afternoon, escalating Tuesday evening when claims were updated on social media.

Jeffries, who has been a beloved head coach of the team since 2003, is currently in up north “weighing some options,” according to Laurier’s athletic director Peter Baxter.

“Basically there’s a lot of speculation out there, but really coach Jeffries is up in Southampton and he’s weighing what’s best for the program.”

Late Tuesday night, CTV Kitchener reported that a source close to the team had confirmed that Jeffries would not be returning to the team.

However, Laurier’s athletics department would not confirm the reports to be true.

Jeffries and Baxter met Monday morning to discuss the direction of the program, but Baxter had confirmed no specifics.

According to Baxter, the athletics department left the decision of whether or not to return to the tem in Jeffries’ hands.

“It’s really up to coach Jeff,” Baxter said. “He’s up in Southampton, which he went last year after the end of the tough season and he’s weighing things.”

The Hawks endured their worst season since 2002 — when the team went 1-7 — this year, mustering only enough offence to win three games in 2012.

The season ended Saturday in Kingston when the Hawks were defeated by the Queen’s Gaels 34-0 in the quarterfinal.

In two consecutive seasons, Laurier has been ousted in the first round of the playoffs, which, last year, was their earliest exit in eight years.

This year, the Hawks were unable to score a point in three games, including their season opener against the Toronto Varsity Blues.

“This is normal process at the end of the season especially a tough one like we had,” Baxter said. “I want to respect coach Jeff. We’re all looking at getting the program better. He certainly weighing some options and I’ve got to respect coach Jeffries.”

Baxter would not say whether the claims were true, saying that the speculations will not be spoken to at the moment.

Jeffries has one year on his contract with Laurier, a team he spent nearly 40 years with, both as a coach and a player. He has seven Yates Cup championships and most recently led the team as head coach to a Vanier Cup in 2005.

Since that Vanier Cup win, the Hawks have been unable to advance further than the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) semi-finals.

An announcement on Jeffries’ future with the team is expected later in the week.

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