Ex-Hurricanes executive Copeland new Longhorns coach

He’s back.

Brian Copeland, a graduate player of the Longhorns’ football team, is the Oakville club’s new and 10th head coach. Team President Steve Harrington announced that Copeland, 40, a former Longhorn player, replaces former coach Howard Betty, who resigned in December, following a disappointing 0-9 record in 2011.

As the architect of the revival of the Hamilton Hurricanes Junior Football Club in 2008 – he served as president for two years – Copeland, who is a master recruiter, used these skills to rebuild the once dominant football club. For his efforts, he was selected as the Canadian Junior Football League’s Executive of the Year in 2009.

In only its fourth season back in junior football, the Hurricanes hosted the 2011 CJFL championship at Ivor Wynne Stadium last November. The ‘Canes earned the right to host the final after capturing their second straight Ontario Junior Football Championship. Their undefeated season came to an end in the Canadian Final when the Hurricanes were defeated by the Western Canadian Junior Champion, Saskatoon Hilltops.

Harrington acknowledged that Copeland’s football connections with many of the best young footballers in the Greater Toronto Area was a big factor in the club’s decision to hire him. “He built the Hurricanes into a contender in a few short years and we believe he can return the Longhorns to their once dominant position in the NFC”, added Harrington.

Copeland, who resides in Smithville, is a commercial contractor and firefighter. He started the Smithville Minor Football League in 2003. Copeland played his high school football at Hamilton’s Cardinal Newman Secondary School, before going on to play junior ball with the Hamilton Hurricanes, university football at the University of Windsor, and senior football with the Oakville Longhorns.

He has coached at the minor, high school, and junior levels for the past 10 years.

His appointment is the result of a three-month search which included more than 15 applications from interested coaches with a wide variety of football backgrounds including coaches from the Ontario Varsity Football League, Ontario Football Conference, the Northern Football Conference, Canadian Interuniversity Sports, and even a former National Football League player, who has been coaching in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The Longhorns will hold their first indoor workout on Saturday, March 31, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Wentworth Arenas, 1249 Wilson Street, East in Ancaster. Interested players are asked to bring shorts and running shoes as well as two (2) pieces of government issued identification to the workout. The Longhorns will stage several outdoor workouts on Sunday afternoons in April on the turf at Bronte Athletic Field, Lakeshore Road, West in Oakville before training camp opens on Sunday, May 1 at Bronte Field.

Anyone interested in trying out for the Longhorns is asked to contact Copeland at (905) 517-8908 or by emailing him at bricopeland@bell.blackberry.net