Laurier football introduces new head coach

Michael Faulds at Thursday's press conference. (Photo by Justin Fauteux).
Michael Faulds at Thursday’s press conference. (Photo by Justin Fauteux).

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, the Laurier Golden Hawks officially named Michael Faulds as Gary Jeffries’ successor as football head coach. Faulds was hired following what Laurier athletic director Peter Baxter called a “national search” that included 25 applicants.

Faulds has spent the past three seasons as the Offensive Coordinator for the York Lions, but most will associate his name with his record-setting playing career with the Western Mustangs from 2005-09. Faulds holds the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) record for career passing yards with 10,811 a record he set in 2009 by passing for 3,033 yards, a CIS single-season record.

Faulds joined York’s coaching staff in 2010, a season in which the perennially bottow-dwelling Lions finished 0-8. In the following two seasons, the team went 1-7 and 2-6 respectively. However, Faulds is credited with improving the Lions’ offence, particularly this past season in which the team finished seventh in Canada in yards per game, sixth in the CIS in passing yards per game.

Taking over Laurier’s head coaching duties at just 29 years old, there will be less than a decade in age between Faulds and most of his players. However, he didn’t shy away from questions about his age or experience.

“In terms of some critics out there, the passport doesn’t lie, I am 29 years old,” he said. “I am a first-time head coach, I didn’t lie on my resume either… The question did come up many times, ‘Are you sure you’re ready for this job?’ And I just said ‘I’m sure out of those 25 applicants, you’ve probably got a lot of 45-65-year-old coaches with a lot of experience that applied, but in my 29 years, no one has been more entrenched in the sport of football than me.'”

Faulds will be taking over a team that finished 3-5 and squeaked into the playoffs in 2012, getting eliminated quickly by the Queen’s Gaels. He will also be taking over from Gary Jeffries, who stepped down following the season after 10 years as head coach and nearly 40 with the program as a player and assistant coach.

“I have reached out to many of the former coaches,” said Faulds. “And I will say that Coach Jeffries and I, we had a good talk and I’ve always respected him as a person as everyone in here has and he has that mutual respect.”

Though Faulds was the star of Thursday’s press conference, he wasn’t the only one getting a new title. Ron Vanmoerkerke, who has been the Hawks’ defensive coordinator since 2003 will add the role of associate head coach, while continuing to serve as defensive coordinator.

The addition of Faulds also meant the end of Ryan Pyear’s tenure with the Golden Hawks. Pyear, who quarterbacked Laurier to its 2005 Vanier Cup win, has served as the team’s offensive coordinator since 2006. The Laurier Athletics Department has confirmed that Pyear is “no longer working with the program”, which likely means Faulds will also take over as offensive coordinator.

See more on this story in Wednesday’s edition of The Cord.

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