First things first: Congratulations are due to Gary Waterman, who the first St. FX coach to have been a former player for the school. The Mississauga native also joins Bishop's Leroy Blugh as the second African-Canadian coach in the CIS. One wonders if Waterman might have a recruiting pipeline into southern Ontario, the same way Acadia and Saint Mary's do among the Eastern schools.
There is some good debate over at cisfootball.org over the state of football at St. FX, and it extends a bit to Acadia and Mount Allison. The three Atlantic conference teams based in bucolic small towns will struggle to marshal the resources — and the coaching and corporate support side — to match up with Saint Mary's and beyond that, on the national stage.
One of the cognoscenti at the dot-org noted that promoting Waterman is akin to taking from Peter to pay Paul. He is a school teacher by trade, so employment is not an issue, which can be a problem for assistant coaches at universities which are outside major population centres. X could have gone outside for a new coach and kept Waterman as co-ordinator, although that presumes there would be a good mesh. One wishes Waterman all the best, but it would be remiss to point there more than murmurs of discontent from X fans online:
You only succeed if all the pieces fit, or you lose to the programs that fit them together better. So what are the missing pieces at X? The most obvious seems to be the lack of any X football alum, or individuals with significant football knowledge, among the decision-makers on campus. There are numerous basketball and hockey alum in decision-making positions. Is it a coincidence that X is consistently successful in basketball and hockey, but struggles with football? Is it a coincidence that basketball and hockey have some of the best facilities in the CIS, while football has some of the worst?From a football standpoint, a good analog is that Queen's was at a similar crossroads in 2000 — a prestigious university with a proud football tradition and a very strong alumni base, but questions over whether it still had relevance. Most Tricolour types thought for sure that Bob Mullen would replace Bob Howes. Mullen was a defensive coordinator, he was a teacher in the community and he'd played for the Gaels, just like Waterman.
"In truth ... X's results kind of make sense when you consider that the team has ultimately been managed by businessmen, whom are previous basketball and hockey players if they have any athletic background at all?"
Queen's opted for Pat Sheahan as coach. Mullen ended up serving one season under him, before leaving the program, which was regrettable, although he did go out with a win in his final home game — Queen's only victory that season — against none other than Western. There was some bitterness and regret when Mullen left, but Queen's saw a positive outcome. The Golden Gaels haven't set the world on fire, but they have gone 42-22 (.656 winning percentage) in the eight seasons since, compared to 26-36 (.419) during the team's final eight seasons in the old O-QIFC.
Again, one wishes Waterman all the best, but it makes more than hard-working coaches. It would be great to see X win a Loney Bowl one of these years, though.