Football in northern B.C. just got a massive boost.
The Prince George Kodiaks Football Club announced the hiring of two-time Grey Cup champion Keon Raymond as their new director of football operations on Friday. The team is a community owned football club that’s mission is to provide elite football opportunities for the U10, U12, U14, U16, U18 and U23 age groups.
Twice named Western All-Star, Raymond was feared as both a linebacker and defensive back during his nine-year CFL career, eight of which came with the Calgary Stampeders. In 132 career games, he registered 366 defensive tackles, 11 sacks, 26 interceptions and eight defensive touchdowns.
After splitting his final season between the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2016, Raymond has amassed some impressive accolades. He was selected to second-team All-Decade by both the CFL and 3DownNation, while TSN named him one of the five defensive backs on their Calgary Stampeders All-Time Team. In 2020, he launched an unsuccessful bid for the presidency of the CFLPA, losing the election to Solomon Elimimian.
Raymond and Kodiaks president Craig Briere connected on the Western Canada 7-on-7 circuit, where Raymond had launched Calgary-based team Big Time Players three years ago. Briere feels that Raymond was a natural hire for the growth of his organization.
“We’ve worked for several years now to get the Kodiaks to the point where we’re at now. We’ve got a tremendous amount of people involved, all the way from our Board of Directors to our coaches, to our players. We’ve felt we’ve created the best-in-class organization that is going to allow for us to grow, and with that, we needed a leader on the operational side of things in order to really take us to the next level to allow our players to get the training, and experience they need to be successful,” he told Ethan Ready of CKPGToday.ca.
“So when we looked for that person, we started searching all over Western Canada and at the end of the day, we had a relationship with Keon through 7-on-7. Keon very quickly came to the top. He’s a proven winner, but most importantly he’s an amazing person. He’s by far one of the greatest people you’ll ever meet.”
As the club’s director of football operations, Raymond will be in charge of the organization’s year-round programming, which includes both flag and tackle programs, while also providing the necessary resources to athletes and coaches to grow the game in northern B.C.
“Having the opportunity to develop our own program here in Calgary and being a pro after so many years, and wanting to stay involved with the game and being able to have the opportunity to give back, and teach, and grow, I’m excited,” Raymond said regarding the announcement. “I’m excited to come to PG and bring a little flavour, some culture, and an attitude for community football.”
Raymond and his family have begun the process of moving to Prince George and intend to arrive towards the end of the summer.