Volume 91, Issue 32

Friday, October 24, 1997

cliff hanger


Return of the field Marshall

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

When McMaster head coach Greg Marshall walks into J.W. Little Stadium on Saturday afternoon he will open the door to 16 years of Western memories – memories he will have to get his reigns on if he wants his Marauders to have any chance of competing with his ex-club, the No.1 ranked Mustangs.

Marshall, a Western fullback for three years between 1978-81, won the Hec Crighton Award for the most outstanding athlete in C.I.A.U. football in 1980, and as well he was the recipient of a pair of All-Canadian honours. Marshall's illustrious football career included a three-year stint with the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL, cut short by knee injuries. However, Marshall remained in football by re-joining the Mustangs in 1983 as an assistant coach.

Marshall's tenure with the Mustangs ended last season, vacating his offensive coordinator post after 13 seasons, so he could take over the head coaching job at McMaster.

"The chance came up to get a top post and I took it," Marshall said. "With Larry doing such a great job at the helm at Western there was no sense in waiting around for an opening with the Mustangs."

Mustang head coach Larry Haylor had nothing but good words to say about his former player and assistant coach with regard to his ability to run the Marauders' ship.

"Greg is very dynamic and a definite doer," Haylor said. "He has great recruiting skills and was a big loss when he left. He will do a great job with re-building McMaster's program."

Marshall talked adamantly about the excitement of returning this weekend and the difficult time he had last season in making the final decision to move to Hamilton.

"I have a lot of friends here and had been with the Western program so long that I know the kids really well," he said. "I love London and on a few occasions this season I can remember thinking to myself, what have I gotten into?"

When asked what styles Marshall had taken from the Mustang scheme, Haylor replied candidly, "He took Western with him – both the offence and defence of McMaster is identical to our set-up. They're young now but will be a solid team in a couple years under his leadership."

Marshall said that this week has been kind of weird since playoff hopes ended long ago for the 2-5 Marauders.

"It was really weird last week thinking how this was it, my last week," he said. "Usually, it would be time to start really gearing up for the playoffs and instead all thoughts are on rebuilding. The only person really happy with that part of the change is my wife."

Saturday's match-up for the Mustangs will be of great importance since it plays a big role in setting up the playoff picture. With a win, the Mustangs will clinch first and home-field advantage throughout the OUA playoffs – a loss will put the team's fate in the hands of the Waterloo-Guelph match-up.

"We can't play a game like we played against Windsor," Haylor said, eluding to the 23-22 victory earlier in the season. "Mac has played some good games this year against some tough teams and could really take advantage of a weak effort."

The game begins at 2 p.m..

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

Copyright The Gazette 1997