SACKVILLE, N.B. – Mount Allison athletic director Pierre Arsenault is again facing the task of finding a football coach soon after announcing the appointment of veteran Peter Fraser as the man to head the program.
Chris (Hoppy) Hopkins, who was recently profiled in The Write Call, resigned his position only days ago in order to accept a full-time role as assistant with the Carleton Ravens, where he will serve as running back coach and coordinator of recruiting.
Hopkins had been part-time coach with the Mounties, while also doubling as Football New Brunswick U18 head coach and director of the high-performance program.
His close friend, Gaétan Richard, says the move only makes sense for Hopkins since his long-time goal has been to become a head coach of a university team. He previously headed a 10-man team to the New Brunswick high school championship.
“I am sad to see Chris go,” said Arsenault in reviewing the coaching situation at Mount Allison, “but I support his decision. Although the transition will be challenging, I feel it offers an opportunity to bring new energy to the program.”
Since it is a shared position, Arsenault has already been in discussions with Football New Brunswick and is confident the two will find a solution within the next few weeks.
“Peter Fraser has already developed a culture around here and the newcomer will find it to be a great place to work.”
A spokesperson with Football New Brunswick said “no other person has made such an impact on our high-performance program and Chris Hopkins will be greatly missed. We thank him for laying the foundation of our football culture for years to come. Since 2001 he has been head coach of our U!8 program, in addition to heading the high-performance program.”
Richard said he learned of the decision shortly after Hopkins received confirmation of his new appointment – about the time of the spring camp in April.
“This will be a big loss to our program,” said Richard, “as he was not only a fine coach but a great person and he will definitely be missed.”
But he added that Peter Fraser has been working quickly to complete the Mountie coaching staff.
At Carleton, Hopkins will be working under head coach Steve Samarrah, the man who succeeded Blake Nill as bossman at St. Mary’s University.
Hopkins says she departure from Mount Allison is not easy.
He played five years with the Mounties from 2003 to 2007, mostly as offensive lineman and since has served over the past six years as assistant coach, special teams coordinator, running back coach, linebacker coach and defensive line coach.
“One thing about Mount Allison is that you build special relationships,” he said, “which makes it even more difficult to leave behind.”