Director of player and coach development and senior varsity head coach Dale Sands is passing the junior varsity torch to Randy Ruttan, one of the coaches who played a vital role in the establishment and development of the Thousand Islands Football league and the reinstitution of football at the Gananoque Secondary School in 2002 after a 30-year absence.
“It’s been both fulfilling and challenging leading two teams over the last 2 years” says Sands. “I’ve enjoyed working with all the staff and players but I am looking forward to being able to focus on the senior varsity team exclusively and watching the junior team develop under Randy’s guidance.”
Sands was putt in the hectic position of leading both programs when an offseason search for a junior varsity coach was unsuccessful. "I had total confidence in him being able to do this," says Jr. Gaels President. “With two teams that have the potential to make some noise in the OPFL, we need to ensure that our coaches can lend teams their total focus and time, so we are very excited with the appointment of Coach Ruttan.”
Coach Ruttan, has coached football at the junior and senior levels for 28 years in Toronto and Eastern Ontario with multiple championships at both the junior and senior levels under his belt, including 5 appearances in the National Capital Bowl. More recently, Ruttan has held the position of Offensive Coordinator for the Sydenham HS junior team. “Sometimes timing just works in your favour,” says Reyes-Walsh. “Coach Ruttan has been on our radar for some time now, and will be an asset to the Jr Gaels on many levels. He has the network, the experience and the drive to take the juniors where we need to be.”
As a retired educator, Ruttan’s football experience combined with his background as a teacher, physical education coordinator, and principal make him a perfect candidate for the Jr. Gaels program. “His approach to coaching fits with our organization”. Ruttan champions a culture of great sportsmanship and the proper mental mindset to become the best person, teammate, family member and student. “The techniques I use build and sustain a positive environment – one where people are free to make mistakes,” says the new junior head coach. “Players can relax and truly enjoy the experience, and championships will follow.”
The Jr. Gaels are welcoming back Coach Dale Sands in the Senior Varsity Head Coach position. “This is Coach Sands’ 9th season with our organization, and we can’t thank him enough for his support and dedication year after year” says Reyes-Walsh. With now all his focus on the senior squad, when asked about his plans for the Senior Varsity team in 2020, “It’s football, I’m not telling you what we are doing,” Sands said with a laugh. Sands added “we will know our jobs, we will do our jobs. We will be disciplined and we are going to bring it every time.” Both Head Coaches will have the support of a solid core of assistant coaches.
Junior Varsity 2020 coaching staff - OC/WR: Richard Burton, QB: Ryan Licandro, RB: Kerry Johnston, OL: Keal King and Daekwon Blair, DC/DL: Ty Sands, LB: Jake Jeffries and Liam Sutherland, DB: Bruce Milks and Perry Amankwah, K/SP: Nick Liberatore.
Senior Varsity 2020 coaching staff - OC/QB: James Keenan, RB: Rasheed Tucker, WR: Mike McKay, OL: Nick Pinard and Curtis Brown, DC/LB: Gabe Boucher, DB: Thompson McCallum – further staff to be announced.
Training camp will start April 4th. Registration and details available at www.jrgaelsfootball.ca
United we are #JrGaelsFootball.