Nill 'the villain' to return to Huskies Stadium with Dinos
Blake Nill made himself a coaching legend during eight seasons at SaintMary’s, turning the Huskies into a national juggernaut and winning sixAtlantic titles and two Vanier Cups.
Blake Nill made himself a coaching legend during eight seasons at Saint Mary’s, turning the Huskies into a national juggernaut and winning six Atlantic titles and two Vanier Cups.
But he hardly expects a hero’s welcome.
No, when he returns to Huskies Stadium with the Calgary Dinos on Saturday for the Uteck Bowl, he knows he’ll be painted as the villain who poached star quarterback Erik Glavic from his former team and good friend Steve Sumarah.
“I’d have to venture to say I won’t get a positive (welcome),” Nill said yesterday. “But I enjoy coming into hostile environments. I enjoy coming in as an underdog.”
It’s the matchup everyone’s been waiting for, with a spot in the Vanier Cup up for grabs. Nill hasn’t been back at Huskies Stadium since resigning in 2006 to take the Dinos’ top job, and this past January, he ruffled the Huskies’ feathers in a big way when Glavic decided to reunite with him in Calgary.
Glavic, of course, needs little introduction. In his Huskies days, he won the Hec Crighton award as national player of the year in 2007, and he’s up for the prize again with the Dinos, unfazed by a knee injury that sidelined him for an entire year.
Sumarah, who coached with Nill for more than a decade, said there hasn’t been much communication between the two since Glavic bolted. Nill said he still considers Sumarah a friend but said “it hasn’t been the best of times, lately.”
“I don’t really want to get into (what happened again) but all I can say is ... the young man made a decision and the last time I checked, this is a free country,” Nill said.
The Dinos are tentatively scheduled to touch down in Halifax on Wednesday morning. While the hype and the subplots will generate plenty of national attention, the bottom line is two of the country’s finest football programs are about to go head-to-head and fans could be treated to quite a game.
“I don’t think we can say there’s bad blood,” Sumarah said. “They’re standing in the way of something we want, and that’s to get to the Vanier. There’s a rivalry, but I’ll be honest, if it was Saskatchewan, I’d feel the same way.”