Carter joins Gryphons staff as Defensive Backs Coach

GUELPH, ON – After going against Donnavan Carter’s defences for several seasons, the Guelph Gryphons are glad to have him on their side. The Gryphons named Carter their defensive backs coach Tuesday. He moves over from the Windsor Lancers where he was their associate head coach and defensive coordinator for the last three years.

“The timing felt just right and it’s such a good fit with the staff,” Carter said. “They’re doing the right things. It’s definitely close to my family and I just want to go and compete for the national title and I think the Gryphons are in as good a shape as any to do that.”

The Gryphon coaching staff are ecstatic to be able to add the Brampton native to their ranks.

“He brings a ton of experience and he brings a professionalism,” Gryphon interim head coach Kevin MacNeill said. “He brings an expertise which was something we were really looking for. It’s incredible.” “He’s been a defensive coordinator at the U of T, a coordinator at the University of Windsor and a coordinator at the East-West Bowl and has a wealth of experience,” Gryphon defensive coordinator Adam Grandy said. “He’s a guy who’s very good at communicating with players.” First-year defensive coordinator Grandy also figures Carter will be able to help him transition into that role. “He’s a good person to throw ideas back and forth,” Grandy said.

Carter, 41, joined Windsor following four seasons with the Toronto Varsity Blues, three of them as the defensive coordinator. He fills a vacancy on the Gryphons coaching staff created last month when Devin Kavanagh left to pursue a career with the RCMP. While Carter looked after the entire defence with both Windsor and Toronto, he’s looking forward to concentrating on the defensive backs with the Gryphons. He’ll also spearhead the team’s recruiting.
“I still feel like it’s a progression for me. This is the defending Yates champion. I started as a positional coach in my first year (with Toronto) and became a coordinator real quickly,” Carter said. “I feel like I have a good feel of that position and that role in an organization and I kind of wanted to narrow my focus. I continue to just want to expand and grow as a coach and I feel like also handling the recruiting as well, that part of the role here, it can allow me to do the critical things you need to do to be successful.”

Carter did take a glance at the Gryphons roster to see which defensive players would likely be back next season and he saw several familiar names.

“There are a lot of guys that with my experiences with the national team and Team Ontario that I’ve coached in the past and guys I’ve recruited, trying to get to Windsor,” he said. “Looking at their personnel, the type of athletes they have and where they are in their careers, I definitely want to get in, jump in, get to work on the film and get a much closer look at each of them to see what I can do to add to their games and grow their games.” While the Gryphons scout all teams in the OUA, they were always wary of the defensive play of Windsor. Last year when Windsor had two wins and finished out of the playoffs, Guelph needed a late touchdown to win by 14 points over the Lancers. The Gryphons were limited to a single touchdown in a 24-9 win at Windsor the year before and they needed a field goal with three seconds to go to win by a single point in their meeting in 2013. “We watch everyone’s film and we always look for ideas,” MacNeill said. “We always watch to see how teams deal with issues that offences present and his film was something we always enjoyed watching and the way his kids play we felt was very in tune to what we do here.”

Carter’s coaching career followed an eight-year playing career as either a safety or a linebacker in the Canadian Football League. He played on four teams in the CFL: the Toronto Argonauts, Ottawa Renegades, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers and was an all-star free safety with Ottawa in 2003.

Carter played NCAA football at Northern Illinois University where he was a team captain and the Mid-American Conference’s most valuable defensive player in 1999. “That was a great opportunity for me and I learned a lot,” he said. “I got coached by a lot of great coaches and it was a great experience.” A Northern Illinois graduate with a Bachelors of Science degree, Carter knows the players have a full plate with their academic and athletic endeavours.
“For me, I really appreciate being a student athlete,” he said. “It did so much for me. They’re here going to university and they perform for the university on the athletic side. They’re with us in a varsity sport and that’s a privilege. I really speak to the combination and being able to do both really sets them up well to be the leaders of tomorrow.”

The Gryphons are to report to training camp in mid-August and begin defence of their Yates Cup title with their home opener Aug. 28 against Toronto and they’re to play at Windsor Sept. 5.

Source: Andy Baechler, Guelph Gryphons Sports Information

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