SACKVILLE, N.B. – The Tantramar Titans have a rebuilt coaching staff and head coach Scott O’Neal says he is excited to have signed Wray Perkin, a young man with lots of experience, to become coordinator of special teams.
“Wray is very football knowledgeable and I look for him to relieve me of a lot of administrative responsibilities,” O’Neal said following the announcement. “He has already shown that he is ready to take over such matters as ordering and maintaining the equipment and I expect he will move into other areas as well.”
Wray Perkin brings a lifetime of exposure to the game of football. From the age of six he became part of the Mountie program, first as water boy and ending as equipment manager. For four seasons he served as special teams coordinator for the Titans under coach O’Neal, working beside veteran David Burns from whom he says he absorbed a great deal of knowledge.
“David Burns was a special person,” he says, “one who had great rapport with his players and he will be missed after devoting 28 years to the program, much of it as head coach.
Burns retired following the 2017 campaign, hoping finally to be able to do some travelling and spend more time with his family.
Perkin served as a volunteer in the equipment department of the Montreal Alouettes before accepting a position as assistant equipment manager of the Ottawa Redblacks. As a matter of fact, he was a member of the 2016 Grey Cup champions and is a member of a rare breed – a New Brunswicker possessing a Grey Cup Ring.
Adding to this impressive array of football experiences is the fact he is currently serving as special teams coordinator of the province’s U16 team.
The new coach absorbed football like a sponge while in Ottawa. A lot of his on-field work was with famous quarterback Henry Burris, who spent hours with Wray, feeding him with special tips on how the game should be played.
While much of his work was with the equipment – from purchasing to maintaining records – he was on the field with the players for every practice and feels he brings a somewhat different approach to the game. This could be from having devoted four full seasons and two training camps with the pros but he quickly stressed that the Titans have enjoyed the best possible guidance from a skilled team of coaches.
Speaking somewhat like his new boss, Wray quickly notes that young football players not only learn to properly play the game but also are developed for life as gentlemen in a rapidly changing world.
While still a member of the Redblacks, Wray earned his teaching degree at Acadia University. Since arriving back from Ottawa he has been doing supply teaching in the local district and would love to obtain a full-time position at Tantramar. In the meantime, he says his total interest is in the Titans as he graduated from the school prior to launching his post-secondary education at Mount Allison.
In addition to his work with Ottawa and Montreal Wray had a connection with the Argonauts and was responsible for having two of their players come to Sackville to work the annual Sackville Minor Football League spring camps.
As coach of the NB U16 team Wray has four local boys on the team and says all show potential to ultimately step up and grab leading roles with the local squad. These include Evan Phinney, Ethan Cormier Terrance Carter and Justin Smith.
“These players are representative of what the local minor program continues to produce and are the future of the Titans.”
He says, after having worked the recent minor camp at Mount Allison, he sees a continuance of the production line meaning continued success for the local school.
“We now have one experienced coach for each position,” says O’Neal, “and that gives each a purpose.”
He believes seven is the proper number of staff but if another with solid experience in coaching showed up he would find him a job.
Currently O’Neal serves as head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Talented veteran Peter Estabrooks directs the defense, with Perkin taking over the special teams from David Burns. Joe Lafford handles the offensive line, Ben Brown the defensive line, Laurie Holmes the defensive backfield and Jordan LeBlanc the receivers.
Asked if he would predict another – the fourth consecutive – New Brunswick championship this coming season, O’Neal would only say “we have a long way to go.”
But he agreed he has some really talented athletes and a strong staff but says it is difficult to replace players of the calibre of Jack Estabrooks and other keys.
Only time will tell but O’Neal can be certain he will continue to have the full support of parents and fans from throughout this region. Go Titans Go.