It was another great evening on Stop #3 of the Yates Cup Victory Tour, aka the Friends of Gryphon Football’s regional receptions. More than 50 alumni, coaches, players and family members came together for a Gryphon family evening. Wellington Brewery
These events may not make much money, in fact they often lose some, but they truly are a great opportunity to build and strengthen the Gryphon family. Alumni Fred Promoli and Bill Morrison, a pair of players from the late 1960s & early 1970s era were a couple of the elders on hand. There were several new members of the family there as well – 2016 committed recruit Spencer Andrews & his mom from Kitchener and the University’s incoming Director of Athletics Scott McRoberts.
Even though McRoberts still has a week of duty with the University of Toronto before he moves in to his new office in the W.F. Mitchell Centre, he came out to introduce himself, share his passion for football and his excitement for the new job. McRoberts is off to a good start according to the feedback I received. One alumnus told me essentially … if this A.D. asks for my help, he’ll get it. No questions asked. He hasn’t felt that way previously.
If you’ve read my thoughts about his hiring, then you will know I have very high expectations for McRoberts. He was the “new breed of athletic director” I was hoping Guelph would hire. Meeting him in person for the first time Friday night only confirmed for me that my previous impression was right. McRoberts really seemed to enjoy meeting everyone there. He looked comfortable. He was smooth speaking off the cuff. He seemed very genuine to the people who met him.
We learned a few more things about him. His biggest task at UTSC was managing the building of $300-million worth of new infrastructure, $240-million of it for the PanAm Games. But, he also oversaw the integration of 7 national sports team into the campus. If I understood it correctly those 7 national teams use the UTSC facilities as their training base while many of their athletes receive their education via UTSC. McRoberts also taught some classes and was engaged in academic research. It was his professorial duties that made it difficult to up-root and relocate any earlier in the semester.
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As usual, Coach MacNeill hit on the same themes he had at the previous events. He introduced the coaches and the players present with a few comments. It sounds like a long-awaited, formal announcement about some of the changes on the staff will be coming from the Athletic Department in the not too distant future. I really don’t think there will be any major surprises there.
If there was a surprise, just like at the Toronto event, it was talk of an addition to the roster via transfer. Not, however, from the NCAA but a graduate transfer from another OUA program. A veteran defensive lineman. I don’t think we’ll hear much more about it until he has been accepted into the graduate program he is applying for. This would be the equivalent of Djordje Gavrilovic coming from Waterloo 2 years ago. Potentially a real boost to depth on the D-Line. A bridge from the loss of several veterans until some younger recruits are ready to play.
The new Football Pavillion was another theme and the subject of a few questions. Large detailed sketches and layout drawings were there for people to look at. There were also questions about recruiting. This off-season hasn’t been like the previous five with the uncertainty of a coaching change. But the Gryphons will be bringing in a solid recruiting class none the less. And someone asked about replacing the best long snapper in the CIS. MacNeill’s answer was simple … we have another Reinhart. On top of that incoming LB recruit Matthew Smith from Montreal was a very good LS in CEGEP.
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