The University of Regina Rams have named alumnus Stephen Bryce as the new head coach.
Bryce will take the place of Mike Gibson who stepped down from the Rams at the end of January when he accepted the offensive lineman coaching position with the Edmonton Eskimos.
Bryce played for the Rams for five seasons, leading the team to a national championship back in 1987.
“It’s a team that I aspired to be a part of in high school and throughout my coaching (career) I looked forward to the opportunity, and even to only dream about an opportunity to coach this outstanding, storied organization,” Bryce told reporters in Regina Monday afternoon.
After his stint in Regina, he went on to play for four years at Jamestown College and finished off his education at California State San Bernardino.
Bryce spent seven seasons as head coach of the Eagles at Etiwanda High School in Rancho Cucamonga, California, leading the team to the top of their division. Several of his former players were on NFL rosters last season.
Recently he came back to Regina to coach at the bantam level for Regina Minor Football. He also took the South Saskatchewan Selects team to the Texas School of Football tournament in Arlington, Texas.
“I think the only regret that I have about coming back to Regina now is that I didn’t do it sooner,” he commented.
When he was introduced to the media on Monday, Bryce said he feels good about the current team in place with the Rams, but he also wants to focus on recruitment. In fact his personal goal is to become the top recruiter in Canada.
“I think what our biggest challenge right now is we have to recruit some outstanding athletes. We’ve got to stop the flow of top athletes from Regina from heading to other places,” Bryce explained.
He also spoke about reinstating a culture of winning in the team.
“We’re not going to be intimidated by other teams like the University of Calgary, just because we haven’t beaten them a lot in the past, I love the David and Goliath story, I love being the underdog.”
Rams president Dan Johnston described Bryce as a strategic thinker and a great leader who knows how to get the best out of student athletes.
University of Regina interim athletic director Curtis Atkinson echoed that sentiment, saying Bryce has a history of developing student athletes.
“He is well respected as a coach who can develop student-athletes in the classroom, on the field, and in the community. He took a systematic and methodical approach to building a championship program at Etiwanda and we believe we’ve found the right person to do the same thing at the U of R,” Atkinson explained in a news release.