After his inaugural year, Donovan’s family-first concept has led to success on the field
“Keep dreaming and keep believing, because without the dreams, it’s a hard life to live. I kept dreaming,” says men’s football Head Coach Mickey Donovan.
After revamping the Concordia Stingers football program, Donovan captured the top honour by being named the Réseau du Sports Étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) Conference Coach of the Year.
Donovan appeared to be quite flattered to have even been considered for the award. However, his ambitions are set to a higher standard, and he feels as though the award represents more than just an individual honour.
“There’s only one trophy I really want and I haven’t gotten it, but to be the Coach of the Year in RSEQ, I really appreciate it,” said Donovan. “I think it’s a staff award.”
Donovan even went as far as getting individual plaques made for his entire coaching staff in order to emphasize their importance.
“A team isn’t done by one guy, and it’s not done by 10 guys, it’s whoever is involved. Whether it’s the water guy, to the head coach, to one of the players, we’re all together and we’re all in it with some type of piece that keeps us together,” he said. “You treat everyone how you want to be treated, make everyone feel good, and everyone will be happy.”
Coaching alongside his brother Pat, the Donovans and the football staff led the Stingers to an impressive 5-3 record, as well as the team’s first playoff appearance since 2011.
Despite losing to Laval in the conference semi-finals, Donovan admitted that the season was fulfilling. It built a foundation for seasons to come, and he says that everyone is too competitive to settle for anything less than a title.
“They always say, ‘which one is your favorite championship?’ It’s the next one, and that’s how it goes for me, my brother, and the other coaches,” Donovan said.
“We all have main goals and our main goal is to get to the top. We want to be the best in the country,” he added.
When asked about the unity of the squad and the program, Donovan took a step back to reflect upon the season as a whole and focused on a single game that he believes to have served as the catalyst for the team’s morale.
“I think it all just came together. We had a pre-season game at Queen’s and we were down at halftime and we kept fighting and we won, and until this day I think that was the game that gave these guys life,” said Donovan. “It gave this program life again.”
A former Stinger himself, Donovan preaches a positive mentality and family-first environment to his players and coaching staff. He says that with the countless destructive events that take place around the globe, there’s simply no room for any negativity in his locker room.
Donovan made it clear that one of the biggest keys to his recent success comes courtesy of his brother Pat. The relationship and respect between the two is evident to everyone involved with the team. Donovan says that the spirit and heart of his brother keeps him in check and allows him to make the proper decisions.
“I think the guys here, the players here and the coaches that we have, we preach family. And I could do that very easily because I have my brother working with me and the other coaches that I have are very close, it’s pretty good,” he said. “The kids see it, and they feel it and they believe in it.”
Donovan believes that if a single player comes to the field feeling unwelcomed or distraught, the team suffers as a unit. He shows extreme compassion for his players and coaching staff and tries to secure the well being of their environment.
“To show your love and your care for people when you truly mean it, it’s something natural that just comes off of you as a human being and I think that’s what pulled it all together in the right way,” said Donovan.