EDITORIAL & OPINIONS
Mustangs need shakeup
It's time for Larry Haylor to step down.
Around Western, Haylor is revered for what he's managed to
do on the football field. Ever since he took the head coaching
reins back in 1984, the Mustangs have had a winning record.
Haylor's led the team to two national championships, three
national semi-finals and three provincial championships. But
precious few of these accolades have come in recent years and
Haylor's time for resting on his laurels has passed.
As it stands, Western's football program is much like Notre
Dame's. Both schools have a great football tradition, but right
now it seems that is all that is holding either program together.
Partly due to the fact it is Western's 125th anniversary, memories
of the football team's past accomplishments seem to be trumping
celebrations of current ones.
Haylor has been at Western for 19 years. During that time
he has won more than anyone else - he recently surpassed Dave "Tuffy" Knight
for the all-time win record in Canadian intercollegiate football
history with career win number 154. It may even be argued Haylor
is drawing top talent to Western.
However, it's been nearly 10 years since Western's last Vanier
Cup (1994). The team did win a Yates Cup in 1998, but failed
to do much beyond their provincial championship.
Last year, it was defensive co-ordinator Bob LaRose who fell
onto Haylor's chopping block. Following a defensive meltdown
in the OUA semi-finals against Queen's, Haylor needed a scapegoat.
The problem of Western choke-fests against any capable team
hasn't been solved, so does that leave Haylor as the last stumbling
block to be removed?
The team has stagnated and the most effective way to shake
the Mustangs out of it is to replace the head coach. Haylor
has enjoyed unprecedented job security and perhaps it is that
job security that has led to the team's stale play.
Finally, there stands a good chance that with his hard-nosed,
kick-ass-and-take-names attitude, Haylor has alienated some
of his players. What may be required is a more nurturing, laid-back
coach to right the Mustangs' ship. Of course, that type of
coach only does well in small doses. Then again, the same can
be said for a coach that milks performance out of his players
Like any other coach, Haylor knows he was only hired to someday
be fired. Imagine if Western had fallen in its two overtime
victories this season - Western would be 1-5 and Haylor would
have his first losing season on his hands. If that had happened,
people everywhere would be calling for his resignation. With
two games left against York and Guelph (games that Western
should, nay, must win), it will be interesting to see what
unfolds. Whatever happens though, for the future good of Western's
football program, Haylor should resign gracefully.