While Michael Faulds faced some pressure situations as the Mustangs quarterback from 2005-09, the Edin Mills, Ont., native will soon see the game from a whole new perspective. The all-time leading passer in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) history has been named the head football coach of the Laurier Golden Hawks.
Faulds, 29, is only the sixth head coach in the team’s 52-year history, as well as the youngest head coach in country today.
“This is a very exciting time in my life,” said Faulds, who was selected from a pool of 25 national applicants. “To be head coach and manager of football operations at a university that is rich in tradition and history like Laurier is terrific.”
As a player, his prowess on the field can be summed up in impressive numbers – two Yates Cup MVP trophies, CIS all-time passing leader at 10,811 yards, CIS single-season passing leader at 3,033 yards.
He has spent the last three years as offensive coordinator for the York University Lions, who went 0-8, 1-7 and 2-6 during his tenure.
So that, along with the whole age question, will surely be brought up as folks question if he’s ‘too young’ or ‘too inexperienced’ for a head coaching gig.
“The age question does not bother me. In fact, critics, in general, have never bothered me,” Faulds said. “I am my own biggest critic and the daily pressures I place on myself far outweigh any others could place on me. For me, if you are a true leader, have a great work ethic and know the game of football, it doesn’t matter if you are 29, 40 or 65. You have the necessary qualities to be a head coach.”
Mustangs head football coach Greg Marshall, who coached Faulds during his time at Western, was not surprised by the hiring. “Michael is a natural leader, a hard worker and has a real passion for the game,” he said.
Faulds’ plan to get the Golden Hawks above .500 for the first time since 2009 is simple.
“The best teams in the CIS have the best players,” he said. “We need to recruit the best players year in and year out. Laurier offers a beautiful campus, a winning tradition and history, great fan support and a very good opportunity to play. These qualities will allow us to recruit the top players annually.”
While the next few months will be filled with game films, recruiting and meeting after meeting, Faulds looks forward to running onto the field for that first game as a head coach.
“My first game will be exciting. I stay focused by always focusing on the task at hand,” Faulds said. “The only things I ever stress about are things that I control. Between now and our first game, I control how hard we work and how prepared we will be.”
On Sept. 21, Faulds and his Golden Hawks host the Mustangs in the two teams’ only match-up of the year.
“I know how prepared Coach Marshall will have Western and it is my job to match it. The atmosphere that week will be intense,” he said.
Marshall also looks forward to that day this fall.
“It is going to be fun to coach against Michael. I have tremendous respect for him and I know that he is going to do a good job,” he said. “He will have his team prepared and I sure he will be excited to play us. The added emotion of playing against your former team will add to the excitement.”