Gary Jeffries decided to step down as the manager of football operations and head coach of the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks on Thursday.
"I felt the time was right to make this decision," said Jeffries. "Laurier has been my home, my work and my family for over 40 years but the time has come to pass the torch. It will be very difficult to not be on the sidelines come September next year but I know this decision is right for me and for the football program."
Jeffries leaves the team after 35 years of services, including the past 10 as head coach. A four-time OUA Coach of the Year and CIS Coach of the Year in 2003, his tenure as head coach saw the Golden Hawks enjoy some of the greatest success the program has ever seen. Compiling a career record of 69-31, Jeffries led the Hawks to back-to-back Yates Cup Championship titles in 2004 and 2005 before capping the 2005 season with Lauriers second Vanier Cup Championship victory, a 24-23 victory over the Saskatchewan Huskies.
"Gary is leaving behind a great tradition of success with Golden Hawk football," commented Peter Baxter, the director of Athletics and Recreation. "He has always been a fierce competitor and wanted to win more than anyone else on the field. The success that he brought to Laurier will leave a lasting legacy, one that we will ensure is continued moving forward."
"It is now our goal to find a new leader who will build upon the legacy that Gary is leaving behind," added Baxter. "We will begin a national search to find the individual who fits the best interests of the program moving forward."
Prior to becoming Laurier's head coach in 2003, Jeffries spent 17 seasons as the Hawks defensive coordinator under three different head coaches, including Tuffy Knight, Rich Newbrough and Rick Zmich. He began his coaching career in 1973, serving as the Hawks defensive line and linebackers coach, after a successful two-year playing career that saw him earn Rookie of the Year and all-star honours at defensive half-back.