It is never easy to replace a legend - especially when you are an out-of-towner with little coaching experience. Welcome to the life of Greg Francis. Francis is not from Alberta and has no direct ties to the University of Alberta.
The two front runners to replace Horwood were Marc Dobell and Dan Vanhooren. Both have substantial ties to the city. Dobell coached here in Edmonton at NAIT and won the Canadian Colleges National Championship in 2003. He is the current coach of Mount Royal College in Calgary. Vanhooren is the current coach of the Calgary Dinos and former Golden Bear player under Horwood. He was apparently interviewed for the job and was not chosen. As a reminder, Horwood has coached at the U of A for 26 years and is still coaching through to the end of the plyoffs.
The word on Francis is that he will be a great recruiter. As the current coach of Canada's Junior National Team, Francis has ties to some of Canada's most talented univeristy eligible ball players. Turning these relationships into commitments to the U of A will be the new coaches biggest challenge. Coach Frnacis will be chatting with the media on Thursday, so I will have more details about what this new coach is all about then.