Stingers moving on without their head coach

Players reflect on Mickey Donovan as he moves onto Alouettes as special teams coordinator

After serving as the Concordia Stingers head coach for four seasons, Mickey Donovan is leaving the team to join the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League (CFL) as a special teams coordinator.

The 37-year-old coach joined the Stingers coaching staff in 2014 alongside his brother, Patrick, who is the team’s assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. In four seasons, Donovan coached the team to a 16-15 record.

Second-year linebacker and captain Samuel Brodrique, said Donovan was a large part of the team’s success over the past few years. He isn’t surprised Donovan’s making the jump to professional football.

“I talked a lot with coach Mickey and it felt like, when it came to his career, he really wanted to push it to the next level,” Brodrique said. “When I heard about where he was going, I was happy for him and I think, for him, it’s the right decision.”

Jean-Guy Rimpel, a third-year running back with the team, said Donovan’s presence in the locker room will be missed, as he was not just a leader but a motivator as well.

“We fed off his energy every game,” Rimpel said. “He’s really appreciated by the team, but we’re also happy that he has been promoted and in the CFL now.”

Brodrique, who was recruited by Donovan in 2016, echoed Rimpel’s sentiments, saying that Donovan is a coach who knows how to get the most out of his team.

Wide receivers Jarryd Taylor (left) and Vince Alessandrini (right) were both recruited by Mickey Donovan. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

“He talks well, so every time he gave a speech it was a good one,” Brodrique said. “He’s intense so the team was able to channel his intensity when it came time to play.”

Brodrique added that, while Donovan helped the team on the field, he was also the type of coach to take an interest in his players off the field.

“He wanted all of his players to do well in life, and he was the type of guy who would tell us that not everything was about football,” Brodrique said. “He cared about how you did in school and just all aspects of life.”

Patrick Donovan will be taking over as interim head coach of the Stingers while the team looks for a permanent replacement. While both Brodrique and Rimpel realize that a head coaching change will be a big adjustment for the team, they both noted that the team is filled with veterans.

“We’re a pretty mature team filled with third and fourth-year players,” Rimpel said. “If we were a bunch of rookies, it would be different, but everyone is focused on doing their work so we should be good.”

“Everything that is new is exciting,” Brodrique added. “We really like coach Pat because he’s like his brother, so it won’t be too much of a change. Everybody is excited for coach Mickey […] There are no hard feelings, we’re just happy for him.”

Main photo by Alex Hutchins


Rookies can be leaders too

Stingers linebacker Samuel Brodrique talks about fitting in and making an impact

When the Concordia Stingers football team took on the McGill Redmen at Percival Molson Stadium in their first game of the year on Sept. 2, Stingers linebacker Samuel Brodrique was playing in his first-ever university game.

In a pressure-packed game between the Stingers’ most hated rival, Brodrique put on a show, picking up two interceptions, one of which was returned 81 yards and helped set up a Stingers touchdown. Brodrique was all over the field that day, making his mark as a formidable defender. By the end of the game, everyone on the field knew who he was.

“During the game, I don’t think I thought about what was happening too much. With the intensity of the game, you don’t have time to think,” Brodrique said. “But I knew I could have that big of a game. We saw it all on tape and we were prepared for them. I knew I could have an impact and I’m happy because I delivered.”

Big plays like the ones Brodrique made against McGill are exactly why he was highly sought after by the Stingers. Before joining the team, Brodrique played for the Champlain College Cougars. Brodrique committed to the Stingers program in October 2015, and then joined the team officially in January.

For Brodrique, Concordia was the best place to continue because, just like him, Stingers head coach Mickey Donovan and Stingers assistant coach Patrick Donovan were linebackers as well.

“The coaches know I came for them so they’re really teaching me every single aspect of being a linebacker,” Brodrique said. “We’re [watching] a lot of film together to pick out the small details and correct myself. They’re committed to making me better.”

Brodrique added that he was interested in attending the John Molson School Business and it was another reason why he didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to play for Concordia. Brodrique is currently studying finance, although he said he doesn’t know exactly what he wants to pursue as a career.

“I don’t quite know yet what I want to do, but I think it’s because of football. Football is always on my mind,” Brodrique said. “I have a lot of interest in my classes and investment. It might turn out to be one of the things I want to do but I can’t say what job I want.”

Brodrique had two interceptions in his first game against McGill.

Since joining the Stingers, Brodrique has made quite the impression on his teammates and coaches. In an interview with The Concordian after the game against the Redmen, coach Donovan had endless praise for Brodrique, stating that he was a special player and a great leader.

In his first year with the team, Brodrique was voted as a captain alongside quarterback Trenton Miller, fifth-year defensive end Andrew Barlett and fourth-year linebacker Mickael Côté.

Brodrique said that being a captain in his first season is an honour, and he is happy to have the support of his teammates.

“In our team, the captains are chosen by election from the players and that’s nice because it means the guys believe in me,” Brodrique said. “I had the chance to be there this winter and meet the guys. I think that really made a difference because I’ve been a part of the system, and I think knowing the playbook helped.”

“I’ve always been a captain that leads by example—I’m not a big speaker and I don’t have a loud voice,” Brodrique added.

When asked about the pressures of making an impact in his first year, Brodrique said that there aren’t any. He knows that he was brought on with the Stingers to make an impact early on and it’s what his coaches are expecting him to do.

In the Stingers second and third games of the season against the Université de Laval and the Université de Montréal, the Stingers lost by scores of 37-18 and 59-3 respectively. The Stingers looked especially outmatched against Montréal, however, Brodrique is confident that the team can bounce back and win down the stretch.

“I think battling those two teams was a reflection in the mirror for us because we could see all of our issues,” Brodrique said. “We have a lot of meetings every week just to see what we can change, and I think, if we had faced these two teams at the end of the year, it wouldn’t have been the same score. I don’t like losing but sometimes it’s essential for a team to get better.”

“I really think that we have everything to win this year, and there is no reason why we can’t beat these teams,” Brodrique said.

With four games still to come this season, Brodrique said he hopes to be more consistent. He feels like he has to be the guy who delivers more big plays, and at the most important times of the game.

Brodrique knows that the team can go far, and he wants to be a part of that big push for a championship. His drive for winning and making big plays is accentuated by his short-term and long-term goals.

“Short-term, I want to win a Vanier Cup, and in the long-term I want to win some more Vaniers,” Brodrique said.

Brodrique and his teammates currently sit at a record of 2-2 and will take on the Bishop’s Gaiters next week at home on Oct. 1 at 2 p.m.

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