Blake Draper (No. 82) was one of several veteran players exploring other options once popular head coach Adam Smith was let go. But new bench boss Jason Quinter persuaded the all-time Husker great to stay and play a role in what Quinter hopes will be a speedy climb to competitiveness.

Blake Draper (No. 82) was one of several veteran players exploring other options once popular head coach Adam Smith was let go. But new bench boss Jason Quinter persuaded the all-time Husker great to stay and play a role in what Quinter hopes will be a speedy climb to competitiveness.

Coach Q fights to restore Husker harmony

Few head coaches have taken on a job in worse circumstances than Jason Quinter did when he became the Valley Huskers head coach last fall.

Eric J. WelshBlack Press

Few head coaches have taken on a job in worse circumstances than Jason Quinter did when he became the Valley Huskers head coach last fall.

Quinter replaced Adam Smith, whose services weren’t retained after a winless 2015 season. Smith didn’t guide the Huskers to many wins during his two year run, but he was popular among the players.

They were in open revolt as Quinter assumed command.

“Right after I took over, we had a meeting in the change-room with just me and the players, and I said. ‘Just tell me how you feel,’” Quinter recalled. “And it was an hour of yelling and screaming, discontent and disgust and every other conceivable emotion you could think of.”

For the next few weeks Quinter had several ‘testy exchanges’ with players who wanted out.

“A lot of them were adamant about wanting to go and I was adamant about them not going,” Quinter said. “For some, it took three or four months to get them to come around.”

Quinter admits there were times when he would get off the phone and wonder what he was doing.

But every time he had negative thoughts, he remembered that first meeting.

Unpleasant as it was with all the yelling and screaming, he remembers feeling hopeful because the players cared.

“I saw some positives that led to me to believe we could make a change and do it quickly.”

Quinter got veterans like Blake Draper, Brendan Kohls and Jesse Deering back into the fold and took a deep breath.

Crisis averted.

Then he turned to recruiting.

Pitching the Husker program has been a HUGE problem. How do you sell a prospect on playing for a program that averages between 0-1 wins a season?

“We brought out two kids from Calgary who come from one of the most storied programs in Canada (Notre Dame), just to see what’s going on,” Quinter said. “Once they got here they saw what Chilliwack looks like — the environment and the stadium.”

“They started to see that it’s not bad, and then they asked, ‘So why have these guys been so bad for so long?”

“And that’s where you get into the honesty about what’s existed with the program and what’s going to be changed to make it better.”

Quinter didn’t try to sugar-coat the win-loss record.

What can you say about four wins in six years?

He sold them on the idea of being in on the ground floor of a fast-track rebuild.

Both players bought into it and signed.

Which is great.

But winning one battle doesn’t win the war, and what about financial resources?

Each of Quinter’s predecessors said it was difficult out-recruiting richy-rich teams like the Okanagan Sun and VI Raiders.

Occasional victories might be possible, but it’s long been felt that BCFC heavyweights can get who they want through sheer financial clout.

“It doesn’t cost anything to get on social media and create relationships with players,” Quinter countered. “You simply have to be active and adamant about doing it and follow up on it.”

Without leaving the province once, Quinter said he added 20 out-of-province players at spring camp — kids hailing from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

“Fourteen of them are provincial all-stars and all of them are top players,” he said. “I never made a trip to do that.”

“That was simply watching video online, getting to know the kids, talking to parents and coaches and other players. You get referrals from players to other players and it builds.”

Of course, it’s easy to be optimistic in July. Smith was just as psyched about his team the last two years before the rest of the BC Football Conference punched them in the mouth.

Quinter understands the skepticism from Husker fans and knows it permeates his own locker room.

“I know some of the kids still believe we’re going to lose, especially the ones who’ve been here for two or three years,” Quinter said. “It’s going to be a progressive change that’s not going to happen overnight, and I need to earn their trust so they understand that what I’m telling them is not BS.”

Quinter is dead serious when says he is targeting a playoff spot, and he’s not afraid to throw it out there.

“We’ve got kids we feel can elevate this team quickly, and by supplementing what we already had I think the process will go smoother than I originally thought,” the coach said. “We’re still viewed as the bottom feeder in this league and that’s fine.”

“I want them to think they’re going to come in here and roll right over us.”

“We’ll see what happens when we get on the field, but I feel we can compete with anybody.”

The Huskers get a big test right out of the gate when they host the defending BCFC champs.

The Sun will be in Chilliwack July 23 for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Exhibition Stadium.

Just Posted

Harrison Hot Springs country singer Todd Richard poses for a photo with Mission firefighters. (Photo/Sarah Plawutski)
VIDEO: Harrison country artist Todd Richard plans for a busy, rockin’ summer

Richard and his band look to live shows as restrictions start to lift

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Holger Schwichtenberg and his son Philip talk in the barn of the 150-acre Schwichtenberg farm. This farm is one of many throughout B.C. that support more than 12,500 jobs across the province in the dairy industry. (Contributed Photo/B.C. Dairy Association)
Agassiz dairy farm a model of care for environment, animals, and family

Farm is part of a dairy sector centred in the Fraser Valley, supporting 12,500 jobs province-wide

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

(Black Press Media files)
Burnaby RCMP look for witnesses in hit-and-run that left motorcyclist dead

Investigators believe that the suspect vehicle rear-ended the motorcycle before fleeing the scene

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Most Read