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Volume 90, Issue 93

Thursday, March 20, 1997



Purple Hayl storm reigns

©Photos by Andria Kury and Geoff Robins/Gazette
WESTERN'S ANSWER TO THE SUTTERS – For the past 12 years the Haylor family has made a great impression on Mustang sports. Pictured from the top are Jordan Haylor, starting quarterback for this year's football team, Larry Haylor, his father and coach, and Jennifer Haylor, a starting forward for the women's basketball team. All three Haylors had enough success with their respective teams to taste post-season experience this year.

By Alex Chiang
Gazette Staff

Vanier Cups, OFSAA championships, coach of the year awards – there aren't too many families around that can boast like the Haylors. For the past decade, the name has become a mainstay in Western athletics.

First there's the head coach of the Mustang football team, Larry Haylor. In 12 seasons, coach Haylor has won 85 per cent of his games and amassed 110 victories. He claimed national coach of the year honours in 1990, no small feat. His credentials also include five trips to the Vanier Cup, guiding the team to the championships in 1989 and 1994.

Then there's his son Jordan. In Jordan's first four seasons at Western there wasn't much room at the quarterback spot with OUAA all-star quarterback Warren Goldie in front of him. Last season, Goldie's departure finally allowed Jordan to showcase his talent.

The father-son combo led a Mustang team that was not expected to be a contender to the top of the national rankings. Even though the team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, all in all the pairing had worked out well.

"With my last name and everything, there was a lot of pressure and I certainly gained the attention of the media," Jordan said. "In that sense it was tough playing for my dad. I was always in the spotlight."

Determined to grab her share of the spotlight was Larry's daughter, Jennifer. Jen was an integral part of the Western women's basketball team, which recently placed third in the country. Like her brother, she too stepped up her play with the departure of another of Western's best athletes – Michelle Vesprini.

"I probably get more nervous when I watch Jen's games, because I only have to be a fan and a father," the eldest Haylor said. "It's different with Jordan, since there's a different focus being the coach and the father."

Although both Jen and Jordan went to the same high school, their athletic careers have taken much different paths. Jen led her Oakridge girl's basketball team to an OFSAA championship.

"Whether it was basketball or volleyball, Jen was always on a winning team," coach Haylor said. "She was heavily recruited by Queen's, so when she decided to come to Western, my first thoughts were that I'd get to see her play."

Jordan, on the other hand, was never on a championship team until he came to Western, when the Mustangs won the Vanier Cup in 1994.

"I was happy for Jordan when we won the Vanier because it was a major milestone for him," the coach said. "He wasn't a superstar and he had to work diligently. That's probably his most admirable trait."

While Larry has been very supportive of his children, they have done no less for their father.

One moment that clearly stuck out in Larry's mind was Western's upset loss to the University of British Columbia in the 1986 Vanier Cup. The Mustangs lost a nail-biter on a UBC touchdown pass with only four seconds remaining.

"Even though Jordan was only 12 and Jen was 10, they lived and died with the football team," Haylor said. "I remember being in the locker room after losing to UBC. Jen fought her way through a crowd of people and media to get to me.

"I was pretty devastated but she put her arm around me and consoled me," he said. "It puts things into perspective, regardless of whether you win or lose."

Jordan also had his moments to reflect on, since it was his last season with the Mustang program. He admitted no regrets for his decision to remain in his hometown.

"It was great playing at Western because my family's here," he said. "I would say that playing in front of them and my friends was the highlight of my career."

"I guess hanging around their dad at all the football games when they were kids did it," Judith, wife, mother and caretaker of the hectic household said.

Western may not have to wait long to see another Haylor on the football field, as 17-year old Matt is considering a similar path taken by his siblings.

"He's an aspiring football player," Jordan said of his brother. "I didn't feel pressured into coming to Western and I don't think Matt does either. My dad's good that way."

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997