Football: Former Mount A coach LaLonde interviews with Guelph

Greg Layson updates on Guelph's search for a football coach.

Multiple sources close to the team confirm the University of Guelph Gryphons on Thursday morning interviewed football coaching candidate Steve LaLonde, formerly of the Mount Allison Mounties.

As part of the interview process, LaLonde addressed approximately 20 returning players at 8 a.m. He later met with at least linebacker Adam Dunk, a defensive captain and athletic director Tom Kendall.

Lalonde was AUS coach of the year in 2006. His Mounties won twice that season after losing 34 consecutive games, a streak that dated back to 2002. Mount A nearly upset the top-seeded Acadia Axemen in the 2006 post-season.

Overall, LaLonde went 3-21 during his three-year tenure at Mount Allison. LaLonde managed to recruit game-breaking quarterback Kelly Hughes and receiver Gary Ross — a Hec Crighton nominee last fall.

However, he left the team high and dry in June 2008 — less than three months before the season kicked off.

He took a job at Northern Iowa Area Community College. LaLonde went 3-6 in 2008 and had 21 recruits committed for 2009 when due to budget cuts the school folded its football program, six days before spring camp.

LaLonde's tenure at NIACC ended with some controversy, when an assistant coach deceived him about thinking Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was going to bail out the sinking program.

LaLonde coached last season at Mount Anthony Union high school in Bennington, Vt.

"He did a great job for us," MAU athletic director Tim Brown said. "But I’m not sure he’s going to be back with us. I know he has applied for a few other jobs."

Brown said Lalonde "hit a teaching certificate snafu" and could not teach full-time.
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  1. Not the guy for guelph
    3-24?? and no OUA experience...
    Where are guys like Tracey?

  2. Don't really think this guy can be an option, with that record, not to mention apparent controversies in previous jobs.

    With both full-time positions now open, who would LaLonde bring with him? Who might be his recruiting contacts? I've gotta think that Guelph needs to bring in someone familiar with Ontario high school football, particularly the southwest region (Walters and his staff have successfully pillaged the Niagara region and I'd like to see that continue)

    To me, this just proves that the Dept. of Athletics is serious about getting this hunt going in a big hurry. Excited to see the next names that pop up.

  3. Mike, don't let the record scare you away. The guy took over a Mount Allison program that was awful. Think York, Toronto, Windsor bad. And he got three wins in two years and damn near won a playoff game to boot.

    His offences were high octane and deadly, some of the highest scoring seasons in the AUS at the time.

    Is he a legitimate choice? Yes. Is he the best choice? Probably not. Is he a bad choice? No.

    We also have to keep in mind the pay scale being offered - pretty average by OUA standards. So is someone good going to leave, say, the Canada West or a good gig like Tracey's?

    Probably not.

    Tracey turned this job down once before if I'm not mistaken.

  4. Fair point, but I can't help but wonder how hiring a guy like that would sit with the players, who are seemingly directly involved with this whole process.

    The pay scale is a good argument, which is why I really don't think we'll see a lateral move by anyone - gotta be someone looking to take that next step "up". That said, as far as I'm concerned, if you're an OUA coach and you want to make 6 figures, you've gotta earn it (see Marshall, Greg)

    I'll admit, I know OUA football a lot better than AUS so I'm basing a lot of my judgment here on out-of-province guys on statistics and things that other people have to say.

    Perhaps what I'm hoping for is a hire that blows me away. Eternal optimist? Perhaps - I should know better being a (gulp!) Buffalo Bills fan. But at first glance, LaLonde makes me shrug.

    Interesting stuff none the less!

  5. Have the AD speak with Sheahan, Marshall, Sumarah, Nill, Towriss, Constantin or someone with more than half a clue on who they might recommend. If Lalonde is the guy - Guelph is in serious trouble. i.e; worse than York.

  6. To my knowledge, the job posting is still open (which I suppose makes this interview that much more bizarre!) so LaLonde will likely be just the first in a long line of guys to go under TK's microscope.

    I'm hearing there will be numerous applicants for this job; we're just getting the first taste here.

    P.S. There's WAYYYYY too much individual talent (from 1st through 4th/5th-year guys) on this team to even put Guelph and York in the same sentence, regardless of who's calling the plays.

    Remember, this is a team that without Dunk (suspension) and FitzGibbon (shoulder injury) beat a pretty solid Waterloo team last year. The talent is in place to put them at the top of the second tier of teams in the OUA - just need that push to get to the next level.

    (sorry for the long "P.S." ha!)

  7. I agree with G. Layson that he may not be the top candidate but I think Steve Lalonde could be very successul at Guelph. He has recruited successfully in Ontario. My son took a recruiting visit to MtA two years ago before picking Guelph and would be more than happy to play for Coach Lalonde.

    Can you imagine Lalonde's offence with QB Kelly Hughes and Guelph's skill players - Fitzgibbon, Gardner, etc? Wow! Hughes does have eligibility and lives in nearby Brampton.

  8. The same Lalonde who changed staff's every year at MtA, who moved every year south to a different program, who was part of the debacle re; Peterson, who left MtA at a critical time just before training camp? Oh yeah, and Gary Ross is the sole reason for this "explosive" offense you speak of. If that's what the Guelph alumni and AD wish for - Go for it!

  9. just like it didnt matter at MT A it wont matter at guelph. Guelph through most of the last regular season posted HUGE offensive numbers but kept losing because their defense sucked. I dont care how good lalonde is Vanmoerkerke (laurier) and Tracy (Queens) both of whom SHOULD be candidate 1 and 1A, will find a way to significantly slow Lalonde's offensive machine down. Guelph needs a solid defensive guy too.

  10. Problem with getting a Vanmoerkerke or a Tracy is simple....$$$$$$$$$$..if either of those two men were to walk in the door and apply, the job should and would be thiers.
    If guelph wants to be more than a mediocore program then you must pay. Walters was loyal to a fault and guelph got an amazing deal with him, this will not happen again.
    The program is on the rise, however, I fear with Tom Kendall at the held he could drive it back into the ground

  11. Tracy has applied! And, yes, the problem is money. Currently the pay range is $54,000 to $83,000. Tracey is asking for $90,000. That is what he is making as Queen's DC. Walters was getting $64,000.