Veteran defensive back, Christian Hutter-Coppin on the past season and his career with the Golden Hawks
“Obviously it’s not the result we wanted, but regardless of how it ended and how my university career came to a halt, this was one of the most fun teams I’ve played on and one of the most closely knit teams I’ve played for,” fifth-year defensive back Christian Hutter-Coppin said about the past football season.
The Golden Hawks football team broke their two-year playoff drought and hosted their first home playoff game in four years this past season, in large part due to their defense. Leading the country in both interceptions and fumbles, the opportunistic Laurier defense relied on a mix of veterans and fresh faces in order to propel their team to a 3-3 record and a second-place finish in the OUA West division.
Christian Hutter-Coppin was a pivotal piece of Laurier’s success this year, having a career season during his final year as a member of the purple and gold. After consecutive 4-4 seasons just barely missing out on the playoffs, the 5’10, 195-pound, Barrie native returned to the Golden Hawks this year and picked up exactly where he left off following the cancellation of the OUA football season in 2020. Hutter-Coppin entered his fifth season with Laurier and recorded a career-high three interceptions this year – second in the OUA.
“It was a dawg mentality, everybody wanted to be the best that they could be, and we had that mindset since training camp,” Hutter-Coppin said.
“From the scout team to the starters, everybody wanted to do what they could to win, so just coming back and seeing everybody in that mindset was really incredible,” he continued.
Hutter-Coppin was one of three other Laurier players who finished their university football career exhausting all five years of eligibility with the program. Having finished his academic studies two terms ago, Hutter-Coppin opted to return to Laurier to play his final season this past year.
As the team hosted Guelph in the OUA quarter-finals last month, Hutter-Coppin was one of the few players with prior playoff experience under Coach Michael Faulds and the Golden Hawks.
The talented defensive back has come a long way since being named rookie of the year in the memorable Yates Cup winning 2016 season. Playing in all 11 games that season, including three playoff games, Hutter-Coppin recorded his first career interception in his fourth game with the team and remained a crucial part of defensive coordinator Ron VanMoerkerke’s secondary- playing in over 40 games throughout his Laurier career.
Hutter-Coppin missed only one game in his time with Laurier and finished his career with over 50 tackles, four interceptions and 1.5 sacks – all recorded this past season. As a team, the Golden Hawks led the country, recording 25 takeaways (13 interceptions and 12 forced fumbles) through just six games this year. Hutter-Coppin had an interception in the opener against York, week three against the Western Mustangs and in the week six senior’s day contest against Windsor. He also recovered a fumble forced by star linebacker Tommy Bringi in that senior’s day matchup against the Lancers.
“I want to thank the senior’s and say how proud I am of them. Their senior year was taken away and they decided to come back and work hard to become leaders on the team,” Coach Faulds said of Hutter-Coppin, Will Amoah, Ente Eguavoen and Cal Taylor, who stayed five seasons within the program.
While Coach Faulds spotlighted the veterans throughout the year this season, Hutter-Coppin has a great deal of respect towards his coach and defensive coordinator as well. “They were super important during my time here. I told them thank you for coaching and everything, but more importantly thank you for grooming me into the man I am today,” Hutter-Coppin said of his coaches.
“Whether they know it or not, there’s little things that they did, that I’m definitely going to carry throughout my everyday life… regardless of football, they obviously taught me great lessons because they’re both elite coaches, but off the field, they taught me more lessons and I’ll forever be grateful for that,” Hutter-Coppin said.
The Golden Hawks defense opened the season with a bang, recording eight takeaways in their first game against York. Led by Amoah, Ayo Ajyai and Hutter-Coppin in the secondary, Laurier was a top five scoring defense in the OUA, while holding opponents to a 55% completion rate through the air – third in the OUA.
Laurier went on a dominant three-game stretch in which their defense held the Vanier Cup finalist Western Mustangs to no points in the entire first half, shutout the nationally ranked McMaster Marauder in a 22-0 victory and held the Windsor Lancers off the scoreboard until the final minute of the game in their convincing 33-8 senior’s day triumph.
“It’s definitely one of my more favourable years of playing football,” Hutter-Coppin said.
“The bye week was a turning point, but even before the bye week there was a different mindset going into training camp… winning and being the best, we can was the goal always but after the bye, we realized that this is some of our last times playing together.”
Hutter-Coppin believed that the key to his success this season was formed through the mindset that he and the team carried throughout the year. Instead of stressing about plays or mistakes made during the game, the defensive back focused on having fun and being the best that he could be.
“We didn’s stress ourselves and focused on the next play,” Hutter-Coppin said. “In my past years of playing, I’ll make a bad play in a game and I just stress on that and it’ll effect my next play, the next play and the next game… this year, everybody had the mindset of let’s just have fun and it really helped on the field.”
Despite the loss to Guelph in the playoffs, Hutter-Coppin viewed the season and Laurier’s return to the gridiron as a successful one, having always believed the team was one of the most talented across the OUA.
In his five seasons with the team, Hutter-Coppin had been a part of several memorable moments with the team while also receiving an invite to the 2020 CFL regional combine. He recounts the Yates Cup victory in his rookie season as one of his favourite memories with the team as well as the enjoyment he had this past year given the uncertainty that surrounded the start of this past OUA season.
“Waiting a whole year, not really knowing what was going to happen, the season wasn’t guaranteed. Just coming back and being with all of the guys was great, I think everybody was on the same page,” Hutter-Coppin said.
With his career in the purple and gold coming to an end, the fifth-year sociology major has his sights set on keeping his football career going. Having just applied for graduation at the conclusion of this past season, he has intentions of looking at the CFL, USFL and even Europe as options for him to continue playing football in the near future.
Outside of football, the defensive back is hoping to continue his academics and study law. “I want to go to law school and study criminal law,” Hutter-Coppin said. “I would like to go to a HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in the states and take law,” he said.
Whether he continues his on-field career playing in a professional league or chooses to focus on his post-grad law aspirations, Hutter-Coppin undoubtedly made a lasting impact over his five seasons with the Golden Hawks football program.