SACKVILLE, N.B. – He has devoted nearly half of his life to the Mount Allison Mounties, so Alumni Field will look different from now on since Gaétan Richard has decided to move on.
However, Gaétan would love to remain in the Sackville area and continue his close relationship with the Tantramar Titans program.
The 33-year old Dieppe native first came to the Sackville campus as a freshman in 2002 and quickly earned a starting position as offensive tackle – a post he commanded over the following five seasons. He grew into the position, being recognized as a difficult protector of his quarterback and a man determined to win.
But the Mounties were going through some rough times while he played and the team lost far more than it won. So, after using up his eligibility, Gaétan turned his hand to coaching and has been a prominent figure under Kelly Jeffrey, Scott Brady and Peter Fraser for the past year.
For many years he was the offensive line coach and combined this with team strength coach and also supervised the academic program. He also was the first director of the university’s fitness centre.
If that wasn’t a big enough load, Gaétan was the interim head coach between the resignation of Brady and the appointment of Fraser.
Fraser paid tribute to all of Gaétan’s contributions and said he understood his decision to resign and seek a new direction. He added he supported the decision as there comes a time when a man must consider all his options.
Gaétan and his partner Danielle LeBlanc have one daughter and a second on the way so it makes sense he might be seeking a more lucrative position, although he would love to continue an association with the game he loves.
“Sackville is a great place to live,” he said during a recent discussion, “and so I hope we can remain here where the girls will have such opportunities to grow and develop.”
But he said, “I need to be able to put food on the table.”
And so it is obvious that at least one of the reasons for his decisions was based simply on the need to become a bigger earner.
At the moment he doesn’t know where his future will lead – perhaps he may follow the likes of predecessors like Brady and Jeffrey and land with a much bigger school in some capacity. Incidentally he holds a BA in psychology from Mount Allison.
During the past five years, Gaétan has played a significant role with the high school Titans. He has run the annual spring camp where he and assistants worked entirely with players while Titan coaches spent time with the minor players.
Thus, these are some of the reasons that football observers across the province continue to express admiration for the local football system – one that continues to develop championship teams and produce athletes who go on, in most cases, to enforce the hopes of the Mounties.
has announced that he and his staff will maintain this close relationship even if Gaétan leaves this region, so coach Scott O’Neal should breathe a sigh of relief.
Gaétan leaves the Mounties with a sense that more good things could be in the offing. He says there are some truly great young athletes on the team and it will be a matter of utilizing them well and finding each year a solid group of newcomers.
And he is confident the Titans will continue to be great in spite of graduating so many fine performers each year. He says athletes like Ross McCormack, Aidan O’Neal, Aaron Rose, Dylan Estabrooks and now Jack Estabrooks are wonderful people and will continue to do a good job wherever they go.
Followers of the Mounties know only too well the amount of sweat and tears Gaétan has given to the Mounties and they realize things will be just a little different.
However, coach Fraser is intent on developing a program in his own image and with Richard being the last full-time member of the “older” gang, the way will be clear.
But all would like to wish Gaétan all the best in any route he chooses and also to say thank you for all you have done to help make the Mounties so exciting and successful over the years.