End of an Era
Concordia Football Coach Retires After 22 Years With Stingers
The Concordia Stingers football team walked off the turf Saturday afternoon with its last loss of the season.
The final game, a 28-21 loss to the Sherbrooke Vert et Or, gave the team a final record of 0-8 on the season, and head coach Gerry McGrath decided it was time to announce a decision he had been contemplating for a year.
After 22 years with the Stingers, McGrath is retiring as head coach of Concordia’s football team. He was at the helm of the Stingers’ coaching staff since 2000 and spent eight years prior as the team’s offensive coordinator.
“My wife and I began talking about it around a year ago,” said McGrath. “It’s now time to just enjoy a smaller role. It’s good for Concordia and it’s good for my family—a definite win-win.”
McGrath, 54, said he had been talking to new Athletics and Recreation Director Patrick Boivin over several conversations throughout the season. The Montreal native will be taking up a new position as an advisor to the department through the 2014 season, allowing him to call the Concordia sports complex a second home—as he has since being hired by Concordia in 1992—for at least one more year.
“I’m looking forward to my new role as an advisor,” McGrath told The Link over the phone on Sunday. “It’s at that critical time where recruiting plays such an important role, so I’d love to help any way I can.”
With Boivin taking up the job as head of athletics earlier this year, McGrath and all his years at Concordia figure to come in handy.
“It’s not a secret that we’re a little bit behind when it comes to our facilities and functions,” said McGrath. “Things will need to be upgraded, but I know with Patrick working with the departments that it’ll come way sooner than people think.”
Despite a woeful season, McGrath looks back with fond memories of his tenure with the Maroon and Gold and his last two-plus decades within the complex and beyond.
McGrath remembers the years where his Stingers and the top-ranked Laval Rouge et Or used to be vying it out for the Quebec Championships years back. But it’s something else that tops his list of memorable moments.
“I’d have to say my true highlight has definitely been my wife and son whom I couldn’t have done all this without,” said McGrath, who had nothing but positive things to say about the program he’s leaving behind.
“We’ve had some great kids within our program; from PhD students to those who have become successful businessmen and pillars of the community,” he said. “People often overlook the pro football aspect.”
McGrath’s replacement has yet to be determined.