Volume 96, Issue 97
Wednesday, April 2, 2003

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Western football team undergoes changes

By Jordan Bell
Gazette Staff

Beth Kerim/Gazette
PAUL GLEASON: THE NEW DEAN OF THE 'D'. The Mustangs defense looks to improve on a rather dismal last season.

Change is anew on the sidelines of the Western Mustangs' football team.

The Mustangs announced numerous changes to the makeup of their coaching ranks last Friday. The highly anticipated announcement however, was the designation of linebackers coach Paul Gleason as Bob LaRose's replacement as defensive co-ordinator.

"I'm motivated and excited to implement my philosophy," Gleason said. "And I hope that passion carries over to the kids."

The defensive co-ordinator position became available on Feb. 5, when former assistant coach and defensive co-ordinator Bob LaRose, a long-time coach and celebrated former athlete at Western, was fired.

Gleason brings an extremely talented resumé to the table. The former Western linebackers coach led the dynastical London Catholic Central Crusaders high school senior football program for eight years (1990-1997), a span marked by seven city championships. He now teaches at London's St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School.

"Paul brings energy, a competitive nature, knowledge, teaching skills and a great desire to be successful," said head coach Larry Haylor.

Brian Wettlaufer, a Mustangs linebacker and one of the squad's leaders in tackles, assists and sacks this year, added the same sentiment about his new coach. "He brings intensity and energy. We lacked emotion and intensity this year and coach Gleason has already addressed some of that in our first spring practice," he said.

The 2002 defense was highly criticized for its play. Gleason explained the problems simply. "We needed big stops and we didn't get those big stops."

Gleason has already promised change. "It's a whole new defense," he explained. "We changed our blitz packages and our terminology is completely different. We've really started at square one."

The changes undertaken by Haylor over the past couple of months have been clearly present within the public eye, appearing in newspapers and on radio telecasts across London. Never in Haylor's tenure has a rearrangement of the staff been this extensive, especially with the release of someone of LaRose's stature. Haylor said he wasn't surprised by the reaction to the changes.

"Changes are always difficult," Haylor explained. "I knew it would be enormously difficult simply because it hadn't been done before in my tenure. It seems, like it or not, Western football is always prominent in the public eye."

Although the major announcement within the Mustangs' brass was that of Gleason, numerous other changes were made and individuals brought into the mix. Steve Samways adds offensive co-ordinator duties to his agenda, one which includes quarterbacks coach since 1989; Chris Marcus was appointed special teams co-ordinator; and Paul Callahan was named as running backs coach.

Football Staff 2003

Larry Haylor
Head Coach

Paul Gleason
Defensive Co-ordinator

Steve Samways
Offensive Co-ordinator

Chris Marcus
Special Teams

Paul Callahan
Running Backs

Kevin Willits
Defensive Secondary

Nigel Wilson

Joe Leckie
Offensive Line

Dave Shoebottom
Defensive Line

Sean McKeown
Offensive Line

Todd MacKay
Defensive Secondary
Strength & Conditioning

Gary Jubenville
Film/Video & Computer Co-ordinator


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