U SPORTS: A Season of Improvements for the Waterloo Warriors

Toronto,ON- It’s an uncertain time for university athletic programs everywhere. For the Waterloo Warriors, though, this upcoming season could have shaped up to be the year that a number of their programs had turn-around seasons.  Their football and rugby programs had postseason performances that could easily have been built upon. Taking a look back at the 2019-20 season, it’s easy to see where the Warriors have grown from previous seasons and where they could have room to improve. 

Men’s Football

Tyler Ternowski
(Jon Halpenney)

The Waterloo Warriors are a team that has been steadily rebuilding for the better part of a decade. This season, finally, the Warriors won their first playoff game in over a decade. The football program was dealt a devastating blow in 2010 when the school suspended the program for a year following an investigation that saw several members of the team test positive for steroids. A number of players left the team. The Warriors football program was reinstated in the 2011-12 season, they did not win a single game that year. From 2011 to 2016, the Warriors posted a 4-44 record. 

They managed to make the playoffs in 2018, but ultimately fell to the Guelph Gryphons. In 2019, the Warriors had finally assembled a team with the experience and determination necessary to not only once again make the playoffs but win their first OUA playoff game against the University of Ottawa. It was seasons upon seasons of recruiting and rebuilding their roster that allowed them to finally break a playoff-winless streak that stretched over two decades. 

They faced the defending championship Western Mustangs in the OUA semi-finals. The Warriors weren’t able to pull out the win but they came closer than most expected as the Mustangs took it 30-24. The season ended with three Warriors being drafted into the CFL. Tyler Ternowski went to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at 27th overall after breaking the OUA single season record for touchdowns with 14. Kurtis Gray was selected by the Calgary Stampeders at 31st and Dion Pellerin went to the Toronto Argos at 42nd. 

There are many unknowns when it comes to the 2020 season to predict exactly what the next step for the Warriors is going to be. With a likely shortened season, it really does stand to reason that any team could walk away with the championship. 

Basketball

Dave Jaworsky on Twitter: "Games committee touring @UWaterloo PAC ...
(Waterloo Warriors Athletics)

After disappointing seasons on the court the Warriors have started the search for both new men’s and women’s basketball coaches. 

At the time of writing, the Warriors have job postings open for both their men’s and women’s basketball head coaching positions. The Warriors lost their men’s coach at the beginning of the school year as he left for a position at McMaster University. Assistant Coach Troy Stevenson took over head coaching duties for the 2019/20 season. The Warriors finished with a 5-17 record and missed the playoffs. 

The women parted ways with their coach, Craig Nickel in the summer before the school year started. Eddie Lopez took over coaching duties on an interim basis. They finished the season out of the playoffs with a 3-19 record. 

The Warriors are in a challenging position as they attempt to recruit and fill coaching positions in a time where leagues are still figuring out how they are going to play the 2020/21 season.

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