Laurier Football scout Dave Morrissey has spent his time in quarantine reaching out to and catching up with former Golden Hawk Football alumni. The result was a series of interviews with notable members of our Laurier Football community, which Dave was kind enough to share with us.
Our third episode features former WLU defensive lineman David Montoya. He was a key member of the 2004 Yates Cup championship team and the 2005 Vanier Cup championship team. In 2005, he was also a 2nd team OUA All Star as well as the Defensive MVP in the Vanier Cup. He played with the Hawks from 2003 to 2006 and again in 2010. I first met David in 2011 or 2012 and he is easily one of the nicest, most positive people I have ever met. He is one of those people whose energy just brings up the entire room. He was kind enough to invite me over to his place to do our interview. An unexpected BBQ fire turned our medium steaks into Chicago-style, but it was still an enjoyable meal.
(Dave Morrissey): Tell me why you chose to come to Laurier.
(David Montoya): I went to Laurier because they were able to get me into my program of choice (Kinesiology). I grew up in Burlington and I wanted to go to MacMaster but my 80% average wasn’t going to be high enough to get me in there. The Head Coach at WLU back then was Rick Zmich and he was able to get me into the program. I had known a bit about Zmich. He was the QB on a Vanier Cup winning team in Ottawa and he was the OC for the 91 WLU Vanier Cup team. I was always very fond of him and I am grateful for the doors he opened for me.
(Morrissey): You started playing for WLU in 2003 and got to experience a lot of success individually and from a team perspective as well. What moment stands out for you?
(Montoya): Interestingly enough, it isn’t the championships. It was a particular moment on the practice field during my rookie year. We were doing D-Line drills with the DC Coach Ron Van Moerkerke. My rookie year was tough. I wasn’t playing. I was getting frustrated and feeling sorry for myself. I was second-guessing why I was even here. I think I felt a little too entitled. During the drill, Coach V tried to correct me and I gave him some attitude. He pulled me aside and quietly admonished me for my admittedly terrible attitude and told me to get off the field. As I was walking off the field, I felt like that was the end of my career at WLU. But then, Coach V came over to me and he explained to me what he wanted me to do, what he needed from me in terms of attitude and discipline, and that I needed to have a business attitude during practice. He let me know that he wanted me back there tomorrow. He was tough enough to discipline me when I needed it, and he cared enough to take the time to convey what he thought I could become if I just worked harder and had a better attitude. It was refreshing to be called out and to be held accountable.
(Morrissey): Your playing career is unique in that after finishing your career in 2006, you came back to play in 2010. You had already started your teaching career. Why did you come back?
(Montoya): All I ever thought about during that 4 year gap was coming back for year 5. Yes, I started teaching phys-ed and coaching football, but it was hard to let go of something I loved so much that came so naturally to me. I knew that I wanted to eventually become an administrator at the high school level and I needed to go back to university to take some more courses anyway, so I figured I might as well play one more year of football.
(Morrissey): You got to play in a 40 to 0 victory over U of T but you were later ruled as ineligible and WLU had to forfeit that win. Do you have any regrets related to that?
(Montoya): I have no regrets about going back to play. However, I do regret how I reacted afterwards. At the time, I reacted poorly. I know that. At WLU, they had done all their due diligence and they were confident I would be eligible to play, but a subsequent OUA ruling determined otherwise. At the time, I said things I shouldn’t have said. I blamed certain individuals at WLU and I realized soon after that I was so wrong. I really wish I could talk back some of the things I said at that time. (Editor’s Note: Montoya was on the coaching staff the next year so it was obvious that all was forgiven).
(Morrissey): So, you mentioned that you knew going into teaching that you wanted to get into administration. I am a teacher too. My dad was a principal, and I knew that when I got into teaching I absolutely did NOT want to ever get into administration. Why was that your goal?
(Montoya): I was always blessed to have administrators play key roles in my development as a student and a player. When I played high school football, the head coach was one of the vice principals at the school, and the principal was the team’s biggest supporter. I formed good relationships with these men. They were interested in me more than as a football player. My high school coach actually brought me to WLU to introduce me to Rich Zmich and the president of the university. My administrators were leaders and I admired them. I knew that I wanted to become like them. They conveyed to me that I could have a bigger influence on the entire school community as an administrator than as a teacher. (Editor’s Note 2: Montoya is currently in the ‘VP Pool’ and will likely be promoted within the next year).
(Morrissey): One of the many things that makes you a fascinating, unique individual is your wrestling gig. I know you have been involved in the independent wrestling circuit in Ontario for a number of years. Let’s hear a bit about that.
(Montoya): I currently have two characters. My first ever character was named Moose Evans. But for a while now, I have had 2 other characters. I am part of a tag team duo called The Swole Patrol (name: Huge Jackedman). The other one is ‘Don Montana’. He is a Colombian coffee exporter/importer. I like to entertain the crowd and it is certainly more fun to play the bad guy. It is story telling. You know what I mean? You’ve done standup comedy. I used to even do musicals in high school.
(Morrissey): Who is the most talented player you have coached and the most talented player you have coached against?
(Montoya): You know the answers! It’s Kwaku Boateng and Nathan Rourke. Kwaku was a student at Bishop Redding in my phys-ed class and he first blew me away in grade 9 doing the beep test. Academically, he was a very high performer and he was a beast on the field. As you know, Boateng had a very successful football career at WLU and he graduated with this BBA. He has done extremely well with the Edmonton Eskimos over the past 3 years. Rourke played for Holy Trinity in Oakville and then went on to have an incredible career at Ohio University. This year, he was a 2nd round draft choice of the BC Lions and I think he has an excellent chance to be the first CDN in quite a while to seize the starting role and keep it for many years. I really hope he does that.
(Morrissey): Who is your favourite NFL team and player?
(Montoya): No doubt! The Buffalo Bills and Bruce Smith. Watching them win the Super Bowl day in and day out……
Morrissey: Hold on there Montoya! They went 0-4 in Super Bowls! You mean they won ‘AFC Championships’ day in and day out. One of them was a 50 point victory over my Raiders.
Montoya: Yes, you are correct sir.
Next Episode: Golden Hawk Alum Rohan Thompson