Football: Nill sorry for 'overreaction' at Uteck Bowl

Many who watched Calgary's Uteck Bowl annihilation of Saint Mary's were struck by the image of Dinos coach Blake Nill chewing out his son, receiver Taylor Nill, early in the third quarter.

It was unpleasant. It looked like angry-bully behaviour. There is a three-page thread on and indignant comments at TSN. There was more attention given to it in the Calgary Herald comments section than to the Dinos' domination of Saint Mary's. A day later, the elder Nill unburdened himself, "... basically Taylor acted out of line and when he came to the bench, I was upset. I screamed at him and it was an over-reaction on my part. I think I crossed the coach-parent threshold. I regret it."

One unpleasant truth is it might have served its purpose. The game was getting out of hand. Calgary was ahead 36-14 and Saint Mary's had about as much chance of coming back as New Moon does of getting a nomination for Best Picture. There was a chance for the game to get chippy, with trash talk and cheap shots. Perhaps the sight of the coach airing out his own flesh and blood reminded the rest of the Dinos to stay in line and finish strong. The ends kind of justify the means.

Granted, you could ask whether attributing this to the "coach-parent threshold" actually addresses the issue. Several coaches across of the country have had a son play for them, and no one recalls seeing them "grabbing the youngster by the shoulders while using some choice language." All's fair in love and football, apparently.

Update: Nill has issued an official apology (and he also said sorry to the entire team the morning after the game):
"I overreacted, and I regret it ... It was a very emotional week and it carried through to the game. I let my emotions get the best of me.

"After the Lumbala touchdown, I felt that Taylor acted disrespectfully toward the Saint Mary's program. I believe in several key values for my players, and one of them is that you always respect your opponent. When he came to the bench, I was upset and I overreacted. It was unprofessional, and I apologize to the team, our fans, the University of Calgary, CIS, my colleagues, and to parents across the country."
No doubt some the "always respect your opponent" will cause a few people to dredge up the 2001 game where Nill's Saint Mary's team waxed Mount Allison 105-0. That is addressed in the comments. There are two sides to that story.

Nill regrets 'crossing coach-parent threshold' (Calgary Herald)
Next stop, Vanier Cup: Dinos beat Huskies in Uteck Bowl (Calgary Herald)
Dinos hammer Huskies to punch Vanier Cup ticket (Calgary Sun)
Dinos devour Huskies (Halifax Chronicle-Herald)
Uteck Bowl less than memorable for Huskies (Halifax Chronicle-Herald)
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


  1. Barry Collrin11/23/2009 6:54 am

    Apology is not enough,An absolutely disgraceful exhibition of bullting bevior without ANY justification;crossing the line ? Suspensionable behavior if you ask me,the CIS has a moral obligation to publically condem this behavior wit action of their own.
    Coach Nil's beavior is completely unjustafiable and his attempt to justify is just completly out of line and reflects that he thinks that iy was OK;TSN announcers had a chance to comment on this and were NOT up to any standard themselves.Atheletes are held to a high standard of behavior,why not coaches? Nil should NOT be permitted to take part in the Vanier Cup.
    My heart bleeds for his son who had to be subjected to such behaior by his own father an image that won't soon leave me/
    Ther should be no place in amateur sports for the Likes of Nil.

  2. Uh, it's Nill, BTW.
    Anyway I can't be too surprised by this.
    Remember a few years ago when coach Spurrier, er, coach Nill pulled out every gadget play in the book out including going for a TD on a fake FG attempt as SMU blasted Mount Allison 115-0?
    Then in his post game comments Nill basically admitted he was out to humiliate the Mounties to "prove his point".
    I don't exactly remember what point he was trying to impress on all of us, except maybe to show what an incredible a-hole he can be.
    Hopefully for Queen's, the karma gods will duly take note of this...

  3. It was 105-0. The circumstances in 2001 were that Nill had been one of the drivers on getting an AUS-QUFL interlock and it couldn't be arranged in time for that season. His contention was that CIS football would die out in the Maritimes without it (at that point, the AUS had a 20-year Vanier Cup drought dating to Acadia in '81).

    Nill was trying to win a Vanier Cup and didn't want his team to slop through games. I was living in Halifax at the time and thought he was justified. A game is a social contact where both teams commit to fielding a competitive team. Frankly, Mount A was not doing that (the story was it had only had 37 players in camp).

    Every successful team has been accused of piling it on at some point. In 2001 it hit a nerve since Saint Mary's went into triple digits and the rivalries and enmity are so deep-seated down East.

  4. Is the video around about this incident?

    Mark Kerr

  5. Mark,

    TSN has the game in its video library. Go to 'broadband,' then 'video library' and watch the third quarter.

  6. It's around the 6:40 mark in the third quarter. Again, we're not milking it, but there's an obligation to point people to where they can see it for themselves and decide.

  7. SK Football Fan11/24/2009 2:12 pm

    If he treated my son like that I can assure you that I would have been in the Athletic Director's office the next day.

    You can't treat people that way. If he wasn't happy with the kid's behaviour, he should hve benched him.

  8. The "kid" is NOT a 10 year old !!! He was disrespectful to SMU.
    Give Dad and Head Coach a break.