Guelph, ON - University of Guelph Gryphons football head coach Stu Lang has begun transitioning from his day to day coaching to an advisory role.
This fall, Lang coached the team to its first Yates Cup victory since 1996 with a 23-17 win over Western University. The team completed its season Nov. 21 with a national semifinal battle for the Mitchell Bowl against the University of Montreal.
Since Lang became the Gryphons head coach in 2010, the team has reached the Yates Cup game three times in the past four years, including winning the title this year. In those last four years they have won more league games than any other OUA team and were undefeated at home compiling a 20 and 0 record.
Lang said that he had been considering backing away from the day to day responsibilities of head coach for some time. When he first accepted the position he told athletic director Tom Kendall that he would only be head coach for four to five years, but after narrowly missing the Yates Cup in 2014 he decided to stay another year.
"The time has come for me to back away from my specific coaching duties and focus on some long term projects. It's an honour to have had the opportunity to be the coach of the Guelph Gryphons, and I've appreciated every moment of it," he said.
"The victory in the championship game against Western was a perfect moment to step back from my head coaching responsibilities. It was a dream of mine for Guelph to return to a place of prominence in CIS football. To win the title in such a dramatic way is something I will never forget."
Lang will remain head coach until a new head coach is named, after a new U of G athletic director is appointed.
"We are grateful to coach Lang for everything he has done with the Guelph Gryphons. He has moved the program to be one of the top programs in the country and we look forward to his continuing input," said Kendall, who is retiring.
Lang, a five-time Grey Cup champion as a receiver with the Edmonton Eskimos, said he will miss being on the field each day. "My coaching experience has been very special, and I would like to thank everyone who was a part of what we accomplished here," he said. Brenda Whiteside, associate vice-president (student affairs), said the school is grateful for his efforts.
"We will miss Stu's presence on the field -- few people will know how much of himself he gave to the program," she said.
"While Stu is stepping down as head coach, he is not leaving the program. He has committed to providing general management support to the team into the future. He has also agreed to oversee the completion of the $6.5 million players' Pavilion and support the many on- and off-field programs he began. This exemplifies who Stu is, and why he was such a successful coach. He is devoted to his players, not just to help them succeed athletically but to grow into exemplary citizens who represent the University of Guelph well."
Lang said he is grateful for the support he has been given. He started at U of Guelph in 2009 as a receivers coach, and one year later, became head coach.
"Winning in sports is never based on one person, and I am grateful to everyone who helped me, as a new and inexperienced coach," he said.
"This includes our staff, administrators, talented coaches and our passionate fans. Most especially, I want to thank the fine young men who I had the privilege to coach over the last six years. Seeing the joy on their faces as they lifted the Yates Cup will be a cherished memory I will never forget. My wife and I will always remain fans and supporters of Guelph. After all, 'Once a Gryphon, always a Gryphon!'"
Source: Guelph Gryphons