For the first time ever, the U Sports East-West Bowl is set to be coached by a pair of retired legends.
Canadian Football Hall of Famer Brian Towriss and former Wilfrid Laurier bench boss Gary Jeffries have been named as head coaches for the 18th edition of the annual prospect showcase. The game, which is set for Saturday, May 7 at McMaster University, will be a coaching rematch of the 2005 Vanier Cup in which Jeffries toppled Towriss’ Huskies 24-23. That contest saw five lead changes as Laurier overcame an eight-point fourth-quarter deficit to take the lead with just 19 seconds left.
Towriss, who will call offensive plays for the West team, led the University of Saskatchewan to nine Vanier Cup appearances, winning three championships, and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame as a builder in 2017.
Towriss started his career at the University of Saskatchewan as a player in 1974-1977. Since then, Towriss has been involved in the Huskies coaching department for 37 years as both assistant coach and head coach. Towriss’ reign as head coach spanned from 1984 to 2016.
During that time, Towriss led Saskatchewan to 11 Hardy Cup victories and was named Canada West Coach of the Year seven times, winning U Sports Coach of the Year in 1994.
Jeffries, who is calling the shots for the East, began his coaching career in 1972 as the linebackers and defensive line coach for the Laurier Golden Hawks, after playing hockey for the Guelph Gryphons and football for both Guelph and Laurier as a student-athlete.
Jeffries served as the Golden Hawks defensive coordinator from 1981 to 1988 while coaching women’s basketball from 1984 to 1988. In 1989, Jeffries took over as Laurier’s men’s basketball coach, a position he held until 1996.
In 2002, he was named head coach of the Laurier football team, winning the program’s second-ever Vanier Cup championship against Towriss and the Huskies in 2005. Jeffries continued his duties as head coach and manager of football operations until 2012.
From 2013 to 2014, Jeffries was the special teams coordinator of the McMaster Marauders, before joining the Gryphons from 2016 to 2018 as an assistant coach.
The U Sports East-West Bowl returns after a two-year hiatus as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and includes over 90 of the best and brightest athletes in Canadian university football that will be eligible for the 2023 CFL Draft.