GUELPH, ON – After having conducted an extensive national search, the University of Guelph's Department of Athletics has named Kevin MacNeill full-time head coach of the Gryphons football program. MacNeill retains the position after having served as interim head coach during the 2016 season, where he led the Gryphons to the OUA playoffs for a fifth consecutive season.
"I would like to thank the leadership group here at the University for giving me this opportunity to lead this great football program. I will work tirelessly to make our passionate alumni proud and cannot wait to continue to work with the talented, dedicated student-athletes we have here at U of G," said MacNeill, who has been an integral part of the Gryphon football coaching staff for each of the past seven seasons. "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. I'm very excited to continue to work alongside the tremendous staff that we've established here at the University of Guelph."
"Kevin has a terrific ability to connect and relate to players," says Scott McRoberts, Director of Athletics at the University of Guelph. "At U of G, we have very high expectations for our varsity coaches. They are the ones who we entrust to mentor our student-athletes day-in and day-out; Coach MacNeill understands the vision of not only our football program, but our university as a whole."
Prior to taking over as interim head coach back in January of 2016, Kevin MacNeill had spent the previous six seasons (2010-2015) as the team's Defensive Coordinator. During that time, MacNeill helped establish the Gryphons as one of the top defensive units in the country. During his six years as coordinator, a total of 23 Gryphon defensive players went on to be named OUA All-Stars. Over his last four seasons as defensive coordinator, MacNeill helped the Gryphons hold their opponents under their season scoring average in 26 of 32 regular season games played.
"After working with Kevin over the past seven years, I am extremely excited to see him take full-time reigns of program," added Angela Orton, Manager of Intercollegiate Programs at the University of Guelph. "His passion, drive and his overall care for his student-athletes is second-to-none."
One year ago, MacNeill took over the head coaching duties from Stu Lang. After guiding the Gryphons to the 2015 Yates Cup, Stu Lang decided to step away from his head coaching responsibilities but remains heavily involved with the Gryphon football program in his current advisory role. "Over the past seven years, Kevin has been instrumental in helping shape the Gryphon Football program into what it is today," says Lang. "He has tremendous leadership qualities and will push his staff and players to continually re-focus in order to further establish the Gryphons as one of the elite football programs in the country."
During the 2016 season, which was MacNeill's first as a head coach at the university level, the Gryphons posted a 3-5 regular season record before falling 17-11 to McMaster in a hard-fought OUA quarter-final matchup. The Gryphons, whose lone national title came in 1984, have managed to reach the Yates Cup (Ontario's conference championship game) in three of the last four years, including capturing the school's fourth Yates Cup with a win over No. 1-ranked Western in 2015. For Director of Athletics Scott McRoberts, it is the desire to add to that championship history that drives MacNeill, "I know Kevin is burning inside to bring another championship back to Guelph. The Yates Cup victory in 2015 was a huge step forward for this program, and we believe that Kevin is the right guy to take this program to even greater heights in the years to come."
The journey to becoming a head coach for the now 39-year-old MacNeill included stops at Wilfrid Laurier University as well as the University of British Columbia, where he held roles ranging from linebackers coach to recruitment coordinator to special teams coordinator. Over the years, Kevin has continued to hone his craft during the offseason by coaching top university prospects at East-West Bowls, while also coaching internationally with Junior Team Canada. Kevin's first head coaching experience took place within the Ontario Varsity Football League where he was head coach of the Guelph Bears (2002-2006).
Kevin MacNeill bio:
CIS / U Sports Coaching career
* 2016-present: University of Guelph (Head Coach)
* 2010-2015: University of Guelph (Defensive Coordinator)
* 2008-2009: University of British Columbia (Recruitment Coordinator & Special Teams Coordinator)
* 2004-2007: Wilfrid Laurier University (Linebackers Coach & Special Teams Coordinator)
* 2016: Junior National Team (Defensive Coordinator)
* 2014: East-West Bowl (Defensive Coordinator)
* 2014: Junior National Team (Linebackers Coach)
* 2013: East-West Bowl (Linebackers Coach)
* 2012: East-West Bowl (Special Teams Coordinator)
* 2002-2006: Head coach of Guelph Bears (OVFL) – named OVFL Coach of the Year in 2006
* Coached CIS President's Trophy winner John Rush in 2015 at Guelph; also coached two OUA President's Trophy winners (Jesse Alexander & Anthony Maggiacomo) while serving as Linebackers Coach at Laurier in 2006 and 2007
* Communication Studies (BA), Wilfrid Laurier (2003)
* Currently pursuing Masters in Leadership, University of Guelph
* Wilfrid Laurier University (1999-2003)
* CIS Second Team All-Canadian (Linebacker, 2003)
* Two-time OUA All-Star (2001, 2003)
* Team MVP (2001)
* Signed by Montreal Alouettes (2004)
* 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