GUELPH, ON – Kevin MacNeill has been named the interim Head Coach of the University of Guelph football program. This appointment will see him serve as Head Coach of the Gryphons until April of 2017. For the 38-year-old MacNeill, this marks his first head coaching stint at the CIS level after having served as the Gryphons Defensive Coordinator for the past six seasons. MacNeill takes over the head coaching position from Stu Lang who, this past November, moved into an advisory role with the program after having served as the head coach since 2010.
"When I hired Kevin, I knew he was going to become a wonderful head coach" says Lang. "He has all the fundamental requirements needed to succeed in that role - a passion for winning, a great football IQ, a relentless recruiting work ethic and a dedication to his players' improvement. I know that the success we have achieved will be sustained under Kevin's watch."
Manager of Intercollegiate Programs, Angela Orton says, "We're thrilled that Kevin has accepted the position of Interim Head Football Coach. His proven leadership and technical skills are well recognized and respected. We have not missed a beat with Kevin assuming the reins of our football program."
Brenda Whiteside, Associate Vice-President (Student Affairs), added "It will be exciting to watch what Kevin does with this program over the course of the next year. Under his guidance the Gryphons have been one of the top ranked defensive teams in the country." And the statistics are certainly there to back up that statement.
During his six years as coordinator, Gryphon defensive players have gone on to be named OUA All-Stars on 23 different occasions. Over the course of the last 32 regular season games, the Gryphons have racked up 100 sacks, 56 interceptions and 45 fumble recoveries. In 26 of those 32 games, the Gryphons held their opponents under their season scoring average. This past season, MacNeill's defence held the top-ranked scoring offence in CIS history (Western Mustangs) to just 17 points in the Yates Cup. During the course of the 2015 season, no other OUA school was able to hold Western to under 30 points in a game. MacNeill now transitions from leading one of the top defensive units in the country, to leading the defending Yates Cup champions into 2016-17.
"It is an honour to have the opportunity to lead a program with such a rich tradition. It means a lot to know that Coach Lang and the leadership group here at the University of Guelph have faith in me to continue the growth of one of the top football programs in the entire country" says MacNeill. "We have an exceptional group of young men here who are a privilege to work with each day and who I know will continue to make our engaged, passionate alumni proud."
MacNeill's journey to becoming a head coach included stops at Wilfrid Laurier as well as the University of British Columbia where he held several roles ranging from linebackers coach to recruitment coordinator to special teams coordinator. Over the years, Kevin has also honed his craft during the CIS offseason by coaching internationally with Junior Team Canada, as well as taking on head coaching positions within the Ontario Varsity Football League. The London, Ontario native admitted, "getting to where I'm currently at in my coaching career would not have been possible without the unwavering support of my wife, Monica, and my family and friends. I want to thank all of the talented coaches that I have had the opportunity to work with over the years. Special thanks to Gary Jeffries who gave me my first opportunity to coach. I'm very excited to continue to work alongside the tremendous staff that we've established here at the University of Guelph."
The Gryphons will open the 2016 season at home on Sunday, August 28 against the University of Toronto with kickoff at Alumni Stadium set for 1pm.
Kevin MacNeill bio:
* Laurier (1999-2003)
* CIS Second Team All-Canadian (Linebacker, 2003)
* Two-time OUA All-Star (2001, 2003)
* Team MVP (2001)
* Signed by Montreal Alouettes (2004)
CIS Coaching career
* 2004-2007: Wilfrid Laurier University (Linebackers Coach & Special Teams Coordinator)
* 2008-2009: University of British Columbia (Recruitment Coordinator & Special Teams Coordinator)
* 2010-present: University of Guelph (Defensive Coordinator)
* 2002-2006: Head coach of Guelph Bears (OVFL) – named OVFL Coach of the Year in 2006
* 2012: East-West Bowl (Special Teams Coordinator)
* 2014: East-West Bowl (Linebackers Coach)
* 2014: Junior National Team (Linebackers Coach)
* 2014: East-West Bowl (Defensive Coordinator)
* 2016: Junior National Team (Defensive Coordinator)
* Has coached three OUA President's Trophy winners (Jesse Alexander & Anthony Maggiacomo at Laurier in 2006 and 2007, John Rush in 2015 at Guelph)
* Communication Studies (BA), Wilfrid Laurier (2003)
* Currently pursuing Masters in Leadership, University of Guelph
* Attended high school at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School in London, Ontario
* Played two years for the London Beefeaters (CJFL) prior to attending Wilfrid Laurier University
* Lives in Guelph with wife Monica
* Has seven-year-old daughter, Hailey, and 1-year-old son, Stephen
Source: Guelph Gryphons