Coaches series: Dwayne Cameron

Photo: Kha Vo

WATERLOO, ON – David Grossman, veteran award-winning journalist, takes us inside the mind of Laurier Football Special Teams Coordinator, Recruiting Coordinator and Defensive Backs Coach, Dwayne Cameron.
When talking sports with Laurier football coach Dwayne Cameron, one thing is quite clear: there is no hyped-up ego or personal gratification.Instead, what you will find is plenty of confidence, hope and determination.

For Cameron, a defensive back, special teams and recruiting coach, his main task on the gridiron is to find ways for players to improve performance. Off the competitive field, he’s a huge confidence booster and very effective in pushing for a complete education.

Cameron isn’t just an educator in football, but an inspirational role model in building leaders of tomorrow and positive contributors to society.

A veteran of the gridiron game, Cameron has referred to the sports term “game-changer”, but not in terms of football. For him, it’s a bit more personal. He admits those two words had a huge effect on him.

“It was February 2000, when Greg was born,” said Cameron, referring to his oldest son and pausing to reminisce about that special day. “He’s my hero and saved my life – got me going in the right direction. It was a reality check for me, a wake-up call. Before then, there was no plan in my life. It was like I was spinning my wheels and floating day-to-day.”

Cameron said his life changed for the better. Gone was instability, replaced with perseverance and a will to provide materialistic support with his existing emotional comfort to contribute encouragement along with the necessities of life.

“As a young athlete, I had the commitment, accountability and responsibility – but it was all tilted to football,” said Cameron. “When my son was born, things changed and an incredible journey started. My own life experience changed and I had to look at accountability and responsibility in a different way.”

A compassionate, but very competitive individual, Cameron has adapted his experience in life to helping others.

“Emotion does very little to fixing problems,” he said. “Identifying shortcomings, and addressing them in a productive way, is the key. My job (at Laurier) is helping university students grow as people, to understand, to deal with things effectively so that when they graduate, they progress and become successful in life.”

As a youngster, Cameron had career aspirations in sport. But he actually didn’t start playing football until his 16th birthday and went on to earn City of Guelph all-star status while playing at Our Lady of Lourdes High. Then, it was off to a Junior College in Kansas, later switching his post-secondary studies to the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Among his numerous highlights in football, Cameron singles out being drafted in the Canadian Football League, scouting for the Calgary Stampeders and the appointment as Head Coach of Team Ontario. Just as special, being part of the coaching crew that helped the Golden Hawks win the 2005 Vanier Cup and a handful of Yates Cup titles.

“There are no shortcuts to real success and I am proud to see these university players progress,” said Cameron, who admitted to a soft spot every now and then. “I can be the tough guy on the football field, but I do get emotional when, years after they leave Laurier, they come back, or call, to send along their thanks for helping them. It’s a great feeling.”

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