Remembering Ian Breck: The Legendary Head Coach of the Bishop’s Gaiters Football Program

2023-09-25 20:00:17

Head coach during the great years of the Bishop’s Gaiters, who he led to three Canadian semi-finals during his 11 seasons at the helm of the team, Ian Breck left his mark on Quebec football.

Passed away by cancer, Sunday morning, surrounded by his family at the age of 76, Breck gave his letters of nobility to the Gaiters football program. Hired as an assistant to the legendary Bruce Coulter in 1984, Breck took the reins of the team in 1988 and immediately reached the final four of Canadian university football. He led the Gaiters to the playoffs ten times, had a record of 51 wins, 25 losses and two ties and was inducted into the institution’s Hall of Fame in 2017.

Assistant with the Gaiters from 1991 to 1994, Glen Constantin learned his lessons with Breck who also counted among his deputies Jacques Chapdelaine and Tom Allen. “Ian was a pioneer who enhanced football in Quebec,” said the head coach of the Rouge et Or of Laval University. What he did at Bishop’s was unheard of in Canada. It operated as a program in the United States. It was the first program to rely on more than a full-time coach. During the off-season, we each had our tasks and football took over all the space starting in August when training camp started. »

“His arrival as head coach was a game-changer at Bishop’s,” continued Constantin. He was a leader and a leader of men who knew how to surround himself well. It’s impressive what he accomplished with few resources. »

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A close friend of Breck and a defensive coordinator under him while he also served as athletic director at Bishop’s, Tom Allen praised Breck’s accomplishments. “It’s incredible that a small school like Bishop’s reached the Canadian semi-final four times (1986, 1988, 1990 and 1994),” he said. We had good teams and a Vanier Cup appearance is all we missed. Football was his life. Even though he had been ill for five or six years, he was still involved with the Lakeshore program and he also helped out with Pat Gregory and John Abbott. I last spoke to him two weeks ago. »

Outstanding recruiter

Allen and Constantin are unanimous on Breck’s recruiting qualities. “He was one of the best recruiters,” Allen said. He called again and again and it worked. He was incredible. He demanded a lot from his assistants and his players, but he was also very demanding of himself. »

“He showed me everything about recruiting,” added Constantin, who was led by Breck during his two seasons with the Champlain College Cougars. He would ask me to sit in the loveseat in his office and listen to how he spoke to young people and their parents. It was a very, very good school to work under him. I was inspired by his dual-task model when I was named head coach in Laval in 2000 before we could hire full-time coaches. »

Although he passed the torch to Mathieu Bertrand two years ago, Constantin had always been responsible for recruitment since he started in Laval in 1996.

Among the great players who played under Breck’s orders, we find Leroy Blugh, Tom Europe and Ray Bernard, among others, who had long careers in the CFL after shining in the university ranks.

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