Just when it looked like the Valley Huskers might finally be gaining a little traction on the field, the BC Football Conference club has fired its coach.
Jason Quinter was turfed over the weekend, with the Huskers sending out a short and blunt press release.
“The Board of Directors for the Valley Huskers Junior Football Club announced today the release of Head Coach Jason Quinter from his contractual obligations,” it reads. “Coach Quinter will not be replaced in the immediate future. The assistant coaches will share the coaching responsibilities through to the end of the season.”
Quinter was just six games into his first season as Husker bench boss, making him the fastest to be fired in recent years.
He said he was told by team president Jack Covey that he was punted for failing to attend board meetings.
“I got this long-winded email on my way to scout a game in Abbotsford,” Quinter said. “I called Jack right away and I said, ‘So you’re telling me after everything we’ve accomplished and built and how competitive we’re becoming, the sole reason you’re firing me is because I didn’t come to board meetings.”
“He said, ‘Yes’ and I said, ‘OK.’”
Quinter joins a dubious club that, since Howie Zaron was fired in 2009, also includes Adam Smith, Luke Acheson and Tyson St. James.
“It’s kind of like a badly written television sitcom,” Quinter said. “It’s like you keep doing the same joke over and over until it’s not funny anymore.”
“That’s what this has become.”
Five coaches in seven seasons is not the stuff winning programs are made of, nor is releasing a coach who appeared to be moving the team in the right direction.
Yes, the team is 0-6.
But at least on one side of the ball the team’s been making strides.
The Husker offence put 20+ points on the scoreboard in three of their last four games. Modest as that sounds, it represents major improvement based on recent history.
Coming off a bye week and facing the winless Kamloops Broncos (0-6) in two of the next three weeks, it wasn’t hard to picture the Huskers collecting their first W.
“I don’t understand what the thought process would be because the team is clearly better and the talent level is clearly deeper,” Quinter said. “We were gaining some credibility and respect with coaches and managers around the league and then you just decide to throw it back two years.”
“In the middle of the season.”
For the rest of this year the Huskers will be guided their offensive coordinator Corey Hamade and defensive coordinator Elmore Abraham.
Hamade is a bright football mind and his work with the O has been admirable.
But it would be difficult for the Huskers to remove the interim tag and make him head coach.
The 33 year old has a criminal record.(www.abbynews.com/news/136854938.html) that has to be factored in.
Abraham has no brushes with the law on his record, but it’s hard to promote the D coordinator of a team that’s coughed up an average of 47 points per game.
If the Huskers go for an outsider, the question must be asked.
Who will want this job?
“I stopped going to board meetings because they don’t do anything,” Quinter said. “There’s been no fund-raising since before the season, no help on billeting, job creation or school — there was no support other than Irene (Spalding), who was great.”
“It’s no different than when Adam left, or Tyson, or Luke or Howie.”
Quinter said former Husker coaches warned him before he took the job that he would face challenges.
“What I did expect was to have a somewhat disengaged board, because they are older,” he said. “What I didn’t expect was to have absolute silence and zero help, for every single email and text message to the board to go unanswered.”
“It got to the point where I stopped talking to the board members and just focused on football, and I knew halfway through the season there was no way I could come back and do this again.”
Quinter insisted that with the development of returning players and another offseason of recruiting, the team would have been playoff bound in 2017.
But he suggests the board has created an environment where a coach, any coach, can’t succeed.
“There’s no way you can do these things in an environment that’s this toxic,” he said. “It’s just dark. Really, really dark.”
“If you look at other teams around the league, they have very engaged boards that work together.”
“That’s not the situation here.”
Quinter hopes the team finishes strong, because he cares about the players he coached. But he suggests the program may be on its last legs without drastic change.
“They’d have to go out of province to find a coach who doesn’t know the history of this club,” he said. “And how is that person going to recruit?”
“I honestly can’t see how this program is going to survive.”
l The Huskers will try to put this massive distraction to the side Saturday night when they host the Broncos at Exhibition Stadium.
Kick off is 7 p.m.