Denis Piché took the high road and was prescriptive on Wednesday when he resigned from the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
The gist of his message was CIS football teams cannot subsist with only two full-time coaches and a cadre of volunteer assistants, many of whom somehow manage careers, families and amateur and high school coaching duties. The 3,500-hour-per-year figure that he consistently cited in interviews was not pulled from thin air. It might even be on the low side.
It is one thing to expect that out of a BCS-conference coach pulling down a cool couple million per season. Your Urban Meyers and Nick Sabans are paid like CEOs and are supported by staffs as large as those of some top politicians. Even they are susceptible to burnout, as Meyer showed us recently.
In Canada, a coach has to do all that, albeit under less of a glare from alumni, the media and university presidentsThey still get paid like a coach, not a top exec. It's decent money, high five figures to low six, but they earn every penny many times over.
If the entire history of sport is a history of money, then in Canada it's often about getting people to work for less, little or free, or having one person do three jobs. Some can do it, but that carries a lot of risks. Piché seemed to be making a point that there's only so much for one person to give, but the day when that may no longer be the case is within sight. It holds for other sports; you could read that into Paul James' departure from York men's soccer last month.
Hopefully the day is coming when all 26 (or more) football-playing schools will realize two full-time coaches as a holdover from the 1990s, the dark ages of CIS football. You want CIS to become more of a first choice for good athletes who good people, start by better rewarding mentors and leaders. There is more to it than add more full-time coaches and stir, but it is a start.
Les Gee Gees perdent leur architecte; Denis Piché, l'entraîneur-chef de l'équipe de football, démissionne (Martin Comtois, Le Droit; via Allez Les Bleus)