After 16 seasons, Paris bids adieu to Mohawk rugby

The men’s rugby team at Mohawk College is looking for a new head coach, after the only man to lead the Mountaineer side in varsity competition stepped down.

Alex Paris guided the squad for 16 years, including the first two seasons, when Mohawk was only a club, or exhibition team. He admits it was a long run.

“I have been the only coach of this programme,” said Paris, “but like players, coaches also move on. I have truly enjoyed my time as coach. I have never gauged my success as a coach by the success on the field. Mohawk College athletes are students first and their success in the class and in life has always been the bench mark of our rugby programme.”

Still, the team’s record under Paris speaks for itself. Three Ontario Colleges Athletic Association gold medals, one silver and three bronze. The Hamilton Mountain resident is also a four-time Coach of the Year and in 2006 he was presented the City of Hamilton Outstanding Sport Volunteer Award.

“We have been very fortunate to have Coach Paris leading the Mohawk men’s rugby team for the past 16 years,” said Michelle Ball, Mohawk’s Director of Student Engagement and Athletics. “He has done so much for the sport at Mohawk and at the OCAA level. The commitment and time he has dedicated to the college and the rugby programme has been sincerely appreciated.” ”

Paris was intense on the sidelines, but kept this in perspective. “No one hates losing more than I do, but the realization is rugby will not be paying the bills when these young men move on. I just hope that I have been able to instill into the 16 years of players who have attended Mohawk, a work ethic that could have been used on the field, in the class and in life.”

Paris said he will miss the ‘team atmosphere’ – working hard for each other.

So, what now for the former field boss?

“I look forward to moving on and working on my degree,” said Paris. “When next year comes around, I am sure I will go and watch a game. Being a spectator is just as rewarding as coaching – just fewer hours of practice!”