A question has been hanging over everyone involved with Warrior football for the better part of a year: when does the team get a head coach, and what will happen when it does? The answer is finally approaching. The athletics department announced that it was taking candidates for the permanent head coach and manager of football operations positions on Nov. 5, about 10 months after previous head coach Joe Paopao resigned to join the Canadian Football League’s B.C. Lions.
In the intervening months, and for the entirety of the 2014 season, the team has been led by longtime staff member and interim head coach Marshall Bingeman. Bingeman has been a part of the Warriors coaching staff since he graduated and finished his playing career for the team 23 years ago. Bingeman had served as interim head coach once before in 2006, as the team has experienced considerable turnover in its top job the past several years. The principle reason for the considerable lag between Paopao’s resignation and the job posting for his former position was the absence of an athletics director for most of 2014. Bob Copeland, the previous athletics director (the position in charge of the athletics department), left the school in Nov. 2013. Roly Webster, Copeland’s replacement, was eventually hired and took over the position in Sept. 2014. The extended absence of a director — who is responsible for hiring head coaches — left the football team in a lurch. Such a gap in time between head coaches in OUA football is considered unusual: Warrior football staff member Mike Karagias told the <em>Hamilton Spectator</em> in May that rival teams take an average of 64 days to hire a new head coach. In the intervening months, the Warriors have suffered through a historically bad season, going 1–7 and giving up blowout after blowout. Lack of leadership continuity, recovery from a program-decimating steroid scandal in 2010, and much-publicised funding issues have dogged the Warriors in recent years, and 2014 proved to be no exception. Rumours in Sept. 2014 that the program would be mothballed by the administration circled the team until Webster reaffirmed his commitment to UW football. The program is attempting to build through recruitment, though competing with the scholarships offered by other OUA schools has proven difficult. A permanent head coach offers recruits stability and continuity in the style and philosophy of training, and is likely to improve the standing of the program amongst its peers. It is not yet apparent if Bingeman intends to apply for the position. In conversations with <em>Imprint</em> over the last year, Bingeman never denied that he would seek the job, but stressed that he was focused on the team and his players. As mentioned earlier in this article, Bingeman has previously held the interim head coaching job, but returned to an assistant position as another head coach was hired. The job posting has been released on the UW athletics website, and calls for applicants with at least five years football coaching experience, preferably at the university level. The ad lists five main responsibilities for the coach: student-athlete and team performance, athlete recruitment, leadership-development for student-athletes and coaches, financial management, and relationship management. A condensed version available on the OUA website stresses fundraising, a major priority for the program as it looks to revamp its fundraising efforts.