WATERLOO, ON – David Grossman, veteran award winning journalist, takes us inside the mind of Laurier football Offensive Line Coach, Irv Daymond.
Irv Daymond knows what it’s like to be a professional.
For 10 seasons in the Canadian Football League, playing for the Ottawa Rough Riders and chosen an all-star twice, Daymond provided leadership and toughness and was well aware of what it took to get the job done – and done well.
Very regimented in his ways and not one to get caught up in instant hoopla, Daymond thrives on certain things, while there are others he would much sooner push aside.
But his alphabet for success is now a gift for football players pursuing a career – while also benefitting from a sound education at Wilfrid Laurier University.
“Everyone has a routine while also experiencing challenges that come their way,” said Daymond, who grew up in St. Thomas, was a high school football MVP and Athlete of the Year. “I strongly believe it’s best to deal with challenges, rather than ignore them.”
Around people, or coaching the gridiron sport that he adores, Daymond is very effective emphasizing that good fortune often comes from more than just the adrenalin of the moment. He points to it being from a combination of trust, a strong work ethic, continuity and staying focussed with a positive attitude.”
“In my younger days, my academics were not great and I wanted to be an electrician or tradesman and really had no idea, or interest, in university,” recalled Daymond. “But there came a time when I realized that I needed to do something with my life.
“As a football coach, there’s more than playing a game. I look into the eyes of players and hope to see the competitiveness, the fire to learn. What we do, as coaches, is more than just football, it’s about intangibles and teaching of life skills like responsibilities and self confidence.”
After his pro career ended, Daymond – who appears in about a dozen different football collectable cards with his name and personal information – did a bit of coaching in Ottawa and Montreal, tinkered with the idea of becoming a firefighter, also sold cars until he was advised by the company that his services were no longer in need.
“That may have been the lowest point in my life – fired as a salesperson,” he recalled. “There was adversity and distress, but then again, it may have been a huge boost, too. I was motivated and reminded myself that when preparation meets opportunity, you take aim and seize it.”
Daymond came to Laurier shortly after he met up with Golden Hawks head coach Michael Faulds at a Team Ontario football tryout camp in Stoney Creek.
“It was a fabulous opportunity for me and one where I knew that I would have a positive impact on young athletes,” he said. “I had to adapt to patience, focus on the priorities and also share my experience and help develop strong members of society and leaders of tomorrow. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
While Daymond stresses leadership and experience, he knows that every young athlete likes to think he, or she, is a superstar in their own way. His job, from a coaching perspective, is to make them reach a new pinnacle and keep sending reminders that determination and ambition can go a long way.