Donovan was introduced by Director of Recreation and Athletics, Patrick Boivin. Donovan expressed his excitement at returning to his alma mater and working with the Stingers.
“This was my dream job. My wife and I always talked about. If there was a job that would open, this is the one that we would want. This is home,” Donovan said.
According to Boivin, the fact that Donovan understands today’s student athletes will help him become a great coach.
“Mickey’s approach with players is much of a partnership. He understands today’s reality of student athletes since he was there not too long ago,” Boivin said. “[Donovan]’s able to connect with the kids one on one. In the years to come its exactly what we need in order to build this kind of team unity and have everyone buying in to what needs to be done.”
Boivin added that Donovan’s recruiting skills are also a huge asset for the team. The team will be doing a lot of recruiting over the next few years, both in Montreal and outside of the province and country.
“We have an opportunity to be able to recruit. We have all the tools that we need, it’s just a question of being out there and doing the work and putting the effort in in order to see the kids we want to recruit … Mickey has been stellar at doing that over the last couple of years,” Boivin said.
Donovan is looking forward to meeting with the team so that they can start working right away.
“We’ve had a great team. Playing Concordia last year [with the Redmen], [the Stingers] never gave up,” Donovan said. “Coming in, I just want them to believe, and buy in on everything that we all are working on to get to that Vanier cup or Dunsmore cup, whatever it is that we can get to. And that’s the goal that I want all of us to have.”
Jamal Henry, a slot backer for the Stingers, is looking forward to working with Donovan.
“I’m excited because when he and his brother played here it was pretty great. What we need is greatness and discipline, and I think he will bring that to the table,” Henry said. “We were anxious to find out who the new coach would be and now that we know, a weight has been lifted off our shoulders. We can play football now so were very excited about that.”
Donovan will be the fifth head coach in the 40 years of Stingers football history. He will be replacing Gerry McGrath, who has been coaching the team for 22 years. McGrath coached Donovan when he was at Concordia.
“[Donovan] has all the values and virtues of a great young man. He was a great player [at Concordia] and he made my job as a coach easy,” said McGrath. “I think that he will build a great legacy on his own.”
Donovan, who was a linebacker with the Stingers for three seasons between 2002 and 2004, graduated with a BA in Leisure Sciences in 2006. While on the team, he completed 130 solo tackles and 46 assists, totaling
153 points in just 19 games.
He was a two-time Quebec all-star, a two-time CIS all-Canadian, and won the Presidents’ Trophy as the top defensive player in Canadian university football in 2004. In 2005, he joined the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger Cats, but suffered a knee injury the following year that lead to the end of his playing career.
His coaching career began when he interned at the University of New Hampshire in 2006. The following year he started coaching the Western Mustangs linebackers. He worked with the Mustangs for four years, and while there he was in charge of special teams, served as the team’s recruiting coordinator, and was in charge of the defensive front seven.
After that, Donovan worked as a guest coach at the Winnipeg Blue Bombers training camp in 2011 and the Toronto Argonauts in 2013. He also worked as a special teams coordinator for the Canadian under-19 team at the 2009 world junior championship, and as the defensive coordinator for the Team Ontario West at the Canada Cup tournament in 2010 and 2011.
Donovan joined the McGill Redmen program as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. It is the first time that Donovan will be working as head coach.