Football Canada unveils U18 Coaching Staff in preparation for 2018 International Bowl
By Ameeta Vohra
Football Canada has announced its national under-18 coaching staff that will lead a roster of 40 players at the 2018 International Bowl this upcoming January.
The national under-18 team will compete from January 11th to 18th in Arlington, Texas. The conclusion of the International Bowl week will be a game between Canada and the United States.
Last month, Football Canada announced a roster of 40 players who were also selected as all-stars for their notable performances at the 2017 Football Canada Cup in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
The U18 coaching staff was selected from each of the eight participating provincial teams that competed at this summer’s tournament.
Overall, this event aims to identify players as well as prepare Canada’s Junior National Team as they get set to defend their gold medal at the International Federation of America Football (IFAF) Under-19 World Championships next summer.
Junior National Team Head Coach Steve Sumarah will lead this group of coaches and players in Texas.
In addition to serving as current Junior National Team Head Coach, Sumarah instructed quarterbacks and receivers for Canada, who were silver medallists at the 2011 IFAF Senior Men’s World Championships in Austria. In 1998, he was the head coach for Team Nova Scotia at the 1998 Football Canada Cup (when it was in the under-19 format).
Currently, Sumarah is in his fifth year as head coach of USports Carleton Ravens. During his time with the Ravens, he led the team to an appearance in the OUA playoffs in 2016.
Previous to the Ravens, Sumarah served as head coach of the Saint Mary’s Huskies for six seasons and amassed a record of 35-12. The Huskies won four consecutive AUS Conference Championships (1997-2000) and made an appearance in the 2007 Vanier Cup. He was named AUS Coach of the Year three times (2007-2009). In the past, Sumarah was Offensive Coordinator with the Huskies and a position coach with the St. Francis Xavier X-Men.
“With the International Bowl coming in January, it’s pretty exciting to put together a coaching staff of guys from the Football Canada Cup,” commented Sumarah. “A lot of these guys I have never worked with so it’s going to make for an exciting time to get together and try to bring a group of young men together to represent our country.”
“I am really looking forward to all the expertise and knowledge these coaches will bring to Team Canada.”
Offensive Coordinator for the under-18 team is Cory Philpot. This past summer, he led Team BC to a successful return to the Football Canada Cup where the squad finished fifth. Philpot enjoyed a successful stint as a player with the Canadian Football League’s BC Lions where he set a record for single season rushing yards on route to helping the team win a Grey Cup in 1994. The next season, Philpot set a league record for the most touchdowns.
During his CFL career, the former running back was a recipient of the Eddie James Memorial Trophy twice (1994, 1995) and selected as a league All-Star in 1995. The offensive star also did a brief stint with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1999-2000). Previous to the CFL, Philpot played in the NCAA for Division 1 FBS team Ole Miss Rebels.
Currently, Philpot serves as Game Commissioner for the British Columbia Football Conference (BCFC) who is in the Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL). Previously he coached the North Delta Longhorns of the Vancouver Mainland Football League (VMFL) as well as both the CJFL’s South Fraser Rams and Vancouver Trojans.
This will be Philpot’s first time coaching at the International Bowl for Team Canada.
Sheldon Gray, who led Team Saskatchewan to a silver medal at the 2017 Football Canada Cup will be the Defensive Coordinator. This will be his third consecutive year coaching Team Canada as in 2017 he instructed the defensive line at the North American Championship in Orlando, Florida and 2016 at the International Bowl.
Since 2010, Gray has coached Team Saskatchewan annually at the Football Canada Cup. During his time on the provincial team, he also has helped the squad win bronze at the 2015 tournament in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, silver in 2014 in Saskatoon and gold in 2010 in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
In addition to coaching at the provincial level, Gray has also instructed at the CJFL and high school levels. For two consecutive years (2013 & 2014), he was an assistant coach with the Prairie Football Conference’s Regina Thunder and also instructed powerhouse high school team Dr. Martin LeBoldus Golden Suns of the Regina Intercollegiate Football League (RIFL) and Miller Marauders of the Regina High Schools Athletic Association.
During his playing career with USports Regina Rams, Gray returned an 83-yard interception during his second season with the team and stood as a school record for a decade before it was broken.
The following are the additional members of this year’s under-18 coaching staff:
Kyle Quinlan – Quarterbacks Coach
- 1st time coaching Team Canada at International Bowl
- Was Offensive Assistant for Team Ontario at 2017 Football Canada Cup
- Currently Co-Offensive Coordinator with McMaster Marauders
- Was Offensive Coordinator with York Lions in 2016, led Holland College Hurricanes to AFL Championship in 2015
- As a player, led McMaster Marauders to Vanier Cup victory in 2011, OUA Conference Championships in both 2011, 2012; Three-time OUA All-Star, two time All-Canadian
Dave Van Den Heuvel – Offensive Line Coach
- This will be his 1st time coaching at the International Bowl
- Was Offensive Coordinator and Running Backs Coach for Team Nova Scotia at the 2017 Football Canada Cup
- Was Offensive Line Coach of Team Nova Scotia at 2015 & 2016 Football Canada Cup
- Currently in his fourth season with St.FX X-Men as Offensive Line Coach and Recruiting Coordinator
- Previously served as Head Coach of Dr. John Hugh Gillis Royals of the Nova Scotia Student Athletic Federation Football League (NSSAFFL)
Donavin Obenauer – Receivers Coach
- This will be his second time coaching at the International Bowl; previously instructed Team Alberta’s under-16 squad at the 2016 event.
- Was an assistant coach with Team Alberta at 2017 Football Canada Cup
- Currently is Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Backs coach with Bev Facey Falcons of the Alberta Schools Athletic Association (ASAA).
- Selected to coach at Alberta Bowl
Chris Hopkins – Defensive Line Coach
- 2018 marks the fourth consecutive appearance in International Bowl Series
- Served as Head Coach of Team New Brunswick at 2017 Football Canada Cup (fourth consecutive year)
- Was a positional coach with Team New Brunswick in 2012, 2013 and Technical Director of Football New Brunswick
- Coaching stints with Mount Allison Mounties and New Brunswick High School Football League (NBHSFL)
- As a player, suited up for Kennebecasis Valley High School, Fundy Minor Football Association, Team New Brunswick under-19 team and Mount Allison Mounties
Olivier Turcotte-Letourneau – Defensive Backs Coach
- First time heading to International Bowl in coaching capacity
- Was a player on Canada’s Junior National Team at under-20 World Championships for three consecutive years (2004-2006)
- Led Team Quebec to gold medal at 2017 Football Canada Cup
- Coaching stints include Assistant Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Backs Coach for McGill Redmen, CEGEP Division 2’s Trois Rivieres Diablos, RSEQ Juvenile Division 1 team Saint Jean Eudes Condors
- As a player, won three Vanier Cups with Laval Rouge et Or (2006, 2008 & 2010); selected as RSEQ All-Star three times and CIS All-Canadian twice.
Donald Burrell – Defensive Assistant
- 2018 marks first appearance at International Bowl
- was Head Coach of Team Manitoba at 2017 Football Canada Cup
- Coaching stints include Head Coach of Portage Collegiate Institute Trojans of the Winnipeg High School Football League (WHSFL), Defensive Backs Coach with CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Defensive Coordinator for WHSFL’s Oak Park Raiders
- led Winnipeg Hawkeyes to Manitoba Junior Championship in 1994
- As a player, also suited up for NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and NCAA Division 1 team Mississippi State Bulldogs
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