Barons football thrives under passionate football coach – North Bay News – BayToday.ca

  • October 21, 2022

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Ryan Desbiens believes it is a great time for Algonquin Barons football in North Bay. 
The longtime Barons football coach who started coaching at the school in 2005, is hoping for more success building off an NDA senior varsity football title last fall; the first for the French Catholic school since way back in 1981. 
"It would be a dream come true really," Desbiens stated about the possibility of winning back-to-back titles.  
"The first one had been a dream come true the fact we were able to do it last year after 40 years to the year was pretty special and to do it again and repeat would be awesome and if our juniors and seniors can win, that has never happened before so that would be special too."  
Desbiens believes there is a combination of factors as to why Algonquin football is taking off. 
"Number one is that we have some staff members that are pretty dedicated and that is across the board," said Desbiens. 
"It starts with the physical education department and Tim Lowe, he has been great with the program and supports us with what we do." 
Desbiens says another turning point was a unique football course he created with the assistance of administrator Lowe back in 2017.  
"It is a two-week course and the kids get half a credit for it in the summertime and they can take it for four years because there are four levels. It is a phys ed course but we specialize in football."  
He thinks the key is having staff members part of the coaching staff.  
"Developing a rapport with the kids; it just translates over from the classroom," said Desbiens.  
"If you can build a rapport with the kids; the kids want to come out and they just want to belong. It is kind of like building a culture within the school so they all kind of tie into each other." 
Desbiens is also thrilled to see how many USport schools are paying attention to his players.
A total of six recent Barons graduations are now on the rosters of various USport football teams across the country.  
"They feed off it, the kids see them," admitted Desbiens about the Barons in USport. 
"We had Andrew Robillard come to our school on his reading week and the kids were in awe. It is something for them to look up to. They think if he can do it so can I. 
"Our primary goal is to build up great young individuals and teach them the important lessons of hard work. To me, if the kids see it is possible, that it is not just some far outreach thing that only a few people do."
Barons playing USport football: 
While Ryan has made a name for himself as a Barons coach, his son Mathieu is trying to make a name for himself on the field.  Desbiens had three touchdowns in only his second game as a Barons running back on the junior team. 
"He is doing well, I am really proud of him," he said. 
"He has been looking forward to this season probably since he was six years old. He absolutely loves it," said Desbiens noting his son played with the bantam Bulldogs program this summer. 
"He understands the game and he is very knowledgeable."
For the game to grow, Desbiens is hopeful the NDA senior loop expands to either a four or five-team league next season.  
"I hope so it is only the best for the game as a three-team league is not ideal long term," said Desbiens.  
"It is not like we have the kids for it. Chippewa has 700 or 800 kids. They should have a pool there to put something together hopefully. We have two teams and we are only at 435. Franco has just over 300 and they have a junior program so hopefully, it is something we can build on. It is only better for the game and especially moving forward for the region in terms of the summer program. The more kids involved from different schools the better it is for all the schools right?"
The game of football could also use more coaches like Ryan Desbiens too. 
 "It is fun and something that I like doing and I guess you could say it is also a passion as well, and that kind of helps too."
About the Author: Chris Dawson
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