Layson: Guelph taking look at ex-Laurier assistant MacNeill

Greg Layson has an update on Guelph's football coaching search.

Guelph athletic director Tom Kendall and about eight players "definitely" interviewed former Laurier Golden Hawks and UBC Thunderbirds special teams coordinator Kevin MacNeill earlier this week, sources say.

MacNeill is at least the second candidate to have been interviewed for the job left vacant after Kyle Walters became special teams coordinator for the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Kendall and a group of approximately 20 players interviewed former Mount Allison coach Steve LaLonde nearly two weeks ago.

MacNeill, however, met with just a committee of eight players. Kendall apparently cut the committee down by more than half after news of LaLonde's interview quickly spread.

MacNeill was a second-team All-Canadian linebacker for the Golden Hawks. He played five years for Laurier, from 1999-2003.

MacNeill signed with the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes after graduation, but was back at Laurier working as a production technician at WLU's printing services while also coaching. He was first a linebackers coach and eventually was promoted to special teams coordinator before leaving for UBC where he held down the same coaching position.

However, after UBC athletic director Bob Philip fired coach Ted Goveia after the 2009 season, MacNeill was out of a job.

New UBC coach Shawn Olson filled out his coaching staff earlier this week and MacNeill wasn’t part of it.

If anything, given his love of the game and past experiences, MacNeill fits the financial billing Guelph has made public.

The position will pay between $54,000 and $84,000 per year, but $65,000 is the expected pay. It’s approximately what Guelph was paying Walters at the time of his departure.

MacNeill has no CIS head coach experience and when he was coaching at Laurier, he lived student-housing style with coach Gary Jeffries and running backs coach Barry Pyear.

Christine Rivet of the Waterloo Record wrote about the “unusual living arrangements” on Oct. 29, 2005.
"MacNeill had this to say: "Coach Jeff said something to me the other day, 'You know, Kev, I haven't worked a day in my life.'

" 'He's right. This isn't work. It's something we'd do regardless of whether we got paid.'

That must be music to a penny-pinching athletic department at cash-strapped school.

MacNeill is also a standup guy whose ego university football is not about.

MacNeill graduated as Laurier’s all-time leading tackler. But in 2007, he actually assisted in assuring his record would be broken.

Fifth-year Hawks linebacker Anthony Maggiacomo broke MacNeill’s school record with 60.5 tackles that season, after MacNeill himself reviewed game tape and double-checked statistics he knew immediately were bogus.

In Laurier’s final regular-season game against York, Maggiacomo was credited with three solo tackles. Upon review, MacNeill found eight — and four assists. MacNeill submitted the evidence to the OUA which made the adjustment. It was enough to vault Maggiacomo past MacNeill in the record books.

There’s not much known about how MacNeill performed in the interview at Guelph but one source said "the players seemed to like him."

Another source wasn't so sure, saying, "MacNeill will not be the next coach of the Gryphons.”

Might he be the next defensive coordinator, though? It's fair to speculate since Billy Brown will not coach beyond his current contract, which expires June 30.
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


  1. This job needs to be filled and quick

  2. What's Tom Kendall doing? Don't know much about MacNeill, but he's too young, lacks coaching experience and has no ties to the Gryphon program. With this being the 2nd of 4 candidates to be interviewed, I'm starting to get a bad feeling. Guelph football may be in trouble!

  3. I think he has links to Guelph football. He has coached Varsity in the community. At least 5 of those players have played for him before.

  4. #2--actually, it's quite the opposite. For a young guy (who can help the program continue to grow), MacNeill has pretty strong experience and makes sense as a candidate.

    Former head coach of the Guelph Bears with ties to the current Gryphons roster. Standout linebacker/LB coach with Laurier so has experience/ties within the Tri-City Area, and CIS coaching experience with UBC out west.

    Young coach, former great player with local ties...sounds very Waltersish--makes sense to me for a guy who's looking to move up in the ranks. He'd definitely be a players-coach, which is something Walters earned a lot of praise for too.

    Whether it's as HC or DC, this would be a positive move.

  5. Too little experience & no ties to Gryphons football. MacNeill at least needs some success as a DC before we turn the Gryphon football program over too him. Mike T., his resume is a great deal shy of Kyle Walters - Gryphon player and Asst coach, succesfull CFL career. He might be a good hire as a Def Coord, but shouldn't we leave that up to the new Head Coach. In that vein, I think Steve Lalonde would be a great hire as Off Coord.

  6. I think they made a mistake in letting Walters leave. He left for an opportunity, but most certainly would have stayed if compensated properly.
    Is Guelph serious about winning? They are not willing to pay for a top flight HC which is why we are seeing candidates who are willing to work for a base minimum.