The Muskie football program held its annual awards banquet last Wednesday night at the Adventure Inn.
The black-and-gold gathered with family, friends, and members of the Touchdown Club to celebrate both a successful campaign, in which the team finished with a 4-2-1 record, and the careers of two retiring coaches—Bob Swing and Greg Allan.
“It was a nice way to wrap up the season, and it was great to honour both Coach Swing and Coach Allan who’ve put so much time into the program,” new Muskie head coach Shane Beckett remarked.
“It’s a nice way to send them off and it’s a nice way to wrap things up for the boys, especially the seniors.”
To no one’s surprise, the team’s most valuable player trophy was awarded to graduating running back Terry Carmody, who set new Currie Division single-season benchmarks in both rushing yards (1,356) and touchdowns (13).
His totals eclipsed the previous records of 1,334 yards and 12 touchdowns set by Miles Mac’s Erin Sesak back in 2004.
The award marks the second time since the end of the season that Carmody has been recognized for his stellar play.
The Muskie senior ran away with the Winnipeg High School Football League’s Elite High Performance Centre’s Offensive Player of the Year Award in the Currie Division in November.
On the other side of the ball, safety Steve Boileau was named the Muskies’ defensive player of the year for his consistently strong play and leadership both on and off the field.
Boileau served as both captain and signal caller on a Muskie defensive squad that surrendered a Currie Division low 70 points in seven games.
Allan “Gus” Hunsperger took home the award for outstanding contribution to the Muskie football program.
Hunsperger has been associated with Muskie football for five years and served as a team captain each of the past two seasons. A popular player among his teammates, he also was recognized as a motivator both on and off the field.
In the final player award of the evening, Brian Glavish was recognized as the team’s rookie of the year.
The trophy—given annually to a first-year Muskie football player—honoured Glavish for a strong season at wide receiver. He led the team in receptions this past season and also provided some good downfield blocking for Carmody.
With the player awards doled out, the focus then shifted to Swing and Allan.
Beckett began a lengthy tribute ceremony to the long-time coaches by reading a pair of letters sent by former Muskies Brett Watt and Jeff “Motor” Maher, now coaches for the Sturgeon Creek Schooners of the WHSFL.
Both praised the departing coaches for their tireless work and dedication to improving Muskie football.
“As much as we are both competitors on the field, the respect and admiration I have for you goes way beyond words,” Watt wrote of Swing.
“To coach as long as you have for a football program you grew up loving and playing for is a great accomplishment,” he added. “Your love for the game and the family sacrifice you made each and every year to coach speaks volumes, as well.”
Watt also praised Allan, writing, “To give as much as you have throughout the years to the high school football team is unbelievable. I only hope I am able to give as much as you have.”
Beckett was next to sing the praises of both departing coaches.
He thanked them for providing him with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed as the Muskies’ new head coach—and made no secret he would be calling on them both to provide guidance in upcoming seasons.
Next to speak was former junior program coach Dean Bruyere, who had a few good-natured jabs for both Swing and Allan before congratulating them on their successful careers.
“Bobby Swing has put a lot of years in,” he commented. “Greg Allan has put a lot of years in. To have that gone is kind of a sore thing to see happen.”
Bruyere did announce he’s spearheading an effort to resurrect the junior program here and has recruited Allan, among others, to help him coach the team.
But perhaps the most moving tributes of the night came from the players themselves.
“Our team has had some tough seasons over the past four years,” Carmody said in his tribute to Swing.
“I’d like to believe that this season’s team is a team Coach Swing can be proud he coached because I know I am proud to have been coached by a man like Coach Swing.”
“Family comes first, that’s one thing he’s always taught us, and I’m glad he found such an appropriate reason to retire,” Carmody added.
Boileau then praised Allan for his years of work with the program.
“He had a special way of connecting with all the players on the team,” Boileau said. “I know he was a coach, but you could sit down and talk to him for hours about things that didn’t necessarily have to do with football.
“He was more like a good friend than anything.
“I cannot say enough how much I appreciate everything he’s done for me and I’m thankful that I got here soon enough that I had the honour of having him for a coach,” Boileau remarked.
With the tributes concluded, the guests of honour addressed the crowd.
“This is a family and it will always be a family as long as there is Muskie football,” Swing began.
“As with every family, there’s going to be discord and dysfunction along the way,” he admitted. “There’ll be arguments and disagreements, and all these lovely things that go on in regular families.
“But if you keep your eye on the prize and are only concerned about the most important thing, which is playing Muskie football . . . everything will be fine and the program will be better.”
Swing also thanked everyone associated with the program, saying, “The people that have spent time and devoted time away from their family to help build our family have been tremendous and that’s the key to why we’re going to be successful.
“To be honest, it’s not about Bob Swing or who the coach of the Muskie football program is. There’ll be someone there to take care of the program and the family to make sure it moves ahead,” he added.
“To everybody, I thank you very much for allowing me to be a part of your family, and my family to grow and be a part of that, as well.”
“I’ll never be able to thank everyone here enough,” Allan said.
“I started coaching football 21 years ago. Dean [Bruyere], you’re the guy who got me in the game. Thank you,” he noted.
“It’s been a lot of fun. It’s been a great ride,” added Allan. ‘I said to you players time and time again, it’s a game, it’s a passion but more than the game, it’s all you people here.
“That’s why I come back every year.
“All you people that donate your time to the program, I really do appreciate it because it’s everybody here in this room that makes it happen,” Allan stressed. “If somebody’s missing, we lose something.
“I could thank everyone all night. Enjoy next year and have a great season,” he concluded.