Football: Eskimos great Lang a candidate to lead Gryphons

A new name has surfaced in Guelph's coaching search, reports Greg Layson.

Guelph said it wanted to do something big with hiring its head football coach — and it might be about to pull off something Stu-pendous.

The latest candidate to be interviewed for the position Kyle Walters left three weeks ago is Guelph receivers coach Stu Lang, of 1970s and '80s Edmonton Eskimos five-time Grey Cup-winning champion fame.

It does not hurt to be out front on this hiring process, since something getting out in the media seldom stops a good person, such as Guelph AD Tom Kendall, from going ahead with a good decision.

A Stu Lang hire works for Guelph since money is no object for Lang — and depending, might not be one for the university. Lang was a heavy hitter in his family company, CCL Label International (which in recent years has had annual sales topping $1 billion). He was its president at the time of his retirement. He was able to retire relatively young and buy his wife, Kim, a horse farm in Puslinch, near Guelph, before offering his services to the Gryphons last season.

In other words, Lang and his family is more than likely financially sound and could coach it for love, not money — in fact, he offered his services to Walters. This helps Guelph get around only being able to max out at $84,000 per year — or even the mid-range salary of $65,000 per year — for a head coach. It might also free up funds for Guelph to hire a defensive coordinator, and perhaps cover the salary for an offensive coordinator.

Lang played at Queen's for the legendary Frank Tindall. At least two of his former teammates from those legendary Eskimos teams have coached CIS teams. Tom Wilkinson, the quarterback, coached Alberta and long-time centre Bob Howes coached Queen's in the 1990s.

Kendall confirmed Lang applied and was interviewed. Kendall also said he hopes to have a hire made by the end of this week. Spring camp is to begin in to two weeks and Kendall said he most definitely hopes to have a head coach in place by then.

Two other confirmed interviewees are former Mount Allison coach Steve LaLonde and former Laurier linebacker and special teams coordinator Kevin MacNeill. Queen's defensive coordinator Pat Tracey, who played and coached for the Gryphons, said "no comment" when asked if he had interviewed.
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  1. Hopefully Lang is hired. With hos connections to the CFL this might bode well with future recruiting

  2. What connections? He played in the 70's!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. This is not a good hire. He has not even coached anything but Guelph receivers. Kendall cannot attract quality candidates to Guelph job. Plain and simple.

  4. Suppose you look at it in terms of leadership. Mr. Lang ran a huge company, and supposedly that would involve hiring good people and trusting them to do a job (I'm naive enough to believe somewhere there's a corporate environment where this actually happens). If he can put together a good staff, raise the profile of the Gryphons ... well, time will tell.

    It is more Guelph cannot attract quality candidates since Kendall's hands are tied on salary.

  5. He played in the 70's and 80's and the CFL community is fairly tight one. I am sure Mr. Lang has kept many of his connections with past teammates and people associated with CFL teams. I went to school with Greg Marshall and Jamie Taras and have had conversations with both so I do know about the connections past players have with the CFL. Once a football player always a football player. The passion does not die.

  6. I don't think CFL connections are too important. The name recognition and 5 Grey Cup rings are probably more significant. Does he have recruiting connections at the high school and OVFL levels? Since the article suggests he doesn't "need" a significant if that money were spent on two coordinators who are also excellent recruiters it could work. Two years of coaching at the h.s. level and one year as receivers coach is pretty shallow experience. Hopefully he has a lot of passion for it.

  7. kendall is the guy who will not even consider using the top salary rung. the school allows for $81 000. That can get the right candidate.

  8. @ Anon 5:45.

    It's actually almost $84,000 at the max. But just because you CAN pay the max doesn't mean they CAN AFFORD the max. There's a difference.

  9. @Anon 10:02 They can afford the max.

  10. Then why wouldn't they pay it?

  11. No clue. Exactly what I am asking.
    If it is salary band, it is negotiated through bargaining. So they have the money. Whether he wants to pay the money, I think therein lies your answer. They can pay it.