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Football formed the man

By Greg Harder, 09/27/18, 2:00PM MDT


Football formed the man

It has been pretty cool to watch them (sons) play and see their love for the game. – Scott Macaulay

Scott Macaulay views football a lot like a family business. It may not pay the bills, but it promotes values that helped make him the man he is today. It also inspired the head coach of the Regina Thunder to pass along those values to the next generation, including his own children. “It has been pretty cool to watch them play and see their love for the game,” Macaulay says of his 12-year-old twins, Matthew and Chase, both of whom play Regina Minor Football. “They absolutely love it. It kind of keeps me in love with the game seeing how bright their eyes get and their energy levels and enthusiasm. The other thing that’s interesting is my wife would not be a football fan at all (if not for her boys). Now all of a sudden she’s kind of a football mom. We’re bringing her to the good side.” It means a lot to Macaulay that those closest to him can relate to his love of football. Although they’ve all made sacrifices, it’s something they can share as a family and reap the benefits in other aspects of their lives.

“The game of football is about knowing how to be disciplined in your life and also how to develop relationships,” explains the 40-yearold Reginan. “It taught me a lot of good traits that I’ve been able to try to transfer over to my work life. The other thing too is everybody wants a place to belong. They want to be part of something special. For me, that’s what the game of football is too. You get to be part of a crew of good guys and good coaches who all have a common goal and work together to have some fun and create something.” Macaulay’s work with the Thunder may satisfy his passion for football, but the volunteer position doesn’t feed his family. That’s why he’s a regional sales manager in Western Canada for Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. Football and pharmaceuticals might seem like an odd combination, but in this case it’s a perfect marriage. “One of the reasons I got this job is because I am the head coach of the Regina Thunder,” says Macaulay, who started out as a Saskatchewan sales rep. “They feel it’s a good fit. They try to limit the amount of travel during the football season. They want me coaching.” Even with his employer’s support, Macaulay admits there’s “never enough hours in the day” to juggle both jobs during football season. The only way to manage it is by giving his assistants a certain level of autonomy and ownership. “That’s a part of the reason why these volunteers stick around,” he notes. “At the end of the day when you’re the head coach you’re involved in everything but I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing right now without the support of the coaches.” Not to mention an understanding family. “You’d have to talk to my wife about that,” he says with a smile. “It’s a tricky thing to manage. I like to make this a family environment for myself and all the coaches so when the families do come they feel appreciated and wanted.” The Thunder organization certainly appreciates Macaulay, who has had opportunities to become a full-time coach at a higher level. For example, two years ago he was encouraged to apply for the top job with the University of Regina Rams, but he ultimately decided to stay put. “Every guy wants to eventually be coaching in the CFL or be a fulltime paid coach,” he says. “But, for me right now, I’m in situation that I’m working for a great company and while I’m working for that great company I can be with the Thunder. It’s a win-win. I don’t need to go to the CFL. I don’t need to go to U Sports. I’m part of an elite program where I feel I can make my mark. Maybe down the road when I’m retired I might want to take a crack at something but right now that’s not what I want to do.” Macaulay’s dedication to the Thunder is complemented by a “pure love of the game” — something he first discovered as a player. Although he wasn’t the most gifted athlete, Macaulay compensated in other key areas. He became a star linebacker at Balfour Collegiate before joining the Rams junior team for three seasons, helping them win national titles in 1997 and 1998. “Scott made the team as a guy who was obviously very dedicated, very hard-working and very smart,” says Erwin Klempner, who was Macaulay’s head coach in high school and his defensive co-ordinator with the Rams. “He was slow and a little small but he made up for it with determination and sheer knowledge and understanding of the game. He was always in the right place at the right time.” Timing wasn’t on Macaulay’s side when the Rams moved up to the university ranks in 1999. After trying out for the team, he was cut. “That was the toughest thing I’ve done in coaching was to let Scott go,” recalls Klempner, who later recommended him to a team in Germany that was looking for Canadian players. Macaulay headed overseas for a year before he was recruited by first-year Thunder head coach Randy Shaw, who wanted Macaulay to join the expansion team for his final season of junior eligibility. After a standout campaign, Macaulay remained with the Thunder for two years as an assistant coach. He also took a job as Football Saskatchewan’s technical director and expanded his coaching horizons at the high school, provincial and national levels. Macaulay went on to take a marketing job with the Rams before Pfizer offered him an opportunity outside of football. That’s also when Klempner re-entered the picture as the Thunder’s head coach. “I nabbed him as quickly as I possibly could,” says Klempner. “I knew I wanted him on that staff just because of the individual he is and the relationship we have and those kind of things.” Macaulay spent three seasons on Klempner’s staff, working with the linebackers and special teams. When Klempner retired after the 2012 season, Macaulay was an obvious successor. Over the next five seasons, he would compile a head-coaching record of 26-13-2 while capturing the national title in 2013. “He’s passionate, hard-working, committed,” says long-time Thunder offensive co-ordinator Stefan Endsin. “It means a lot to Scott. He has kind of put his life into making sure the Thunder is a successful franchise and moulded in the image he wants, which is hard-working and gritty.” Macaulay also made it a priority for the Thunder to be active in the community. It was his way of helping ensure the team produced good people as well as good players. “From the beginning since he has been here, that’s one of the most important things,” continues Endsin. “That’s why we do all the things in the community and the school programs and the effort he puts into getting kids scholarships and the effort he puts into getting them jobs. He wants the alumni to be successful. We have guys here who have CFL aspirations. Some make it, like the Dan Clarks. But all of those guys learn how to be men on this practice field as well.” Although Macaulay’s priorities go beyond wins and losses, he’s also fiercely competitive. He was the same way as a player. “He showed a tremendous amount of leadership skills in high school,” says Klempner. “He’d have his mom and dad’s basement full of football players the day before a game watching film. You could see the passion and understanding and trying to do everything he could possibly do to make everyone better football players. He still demands an awful lot. He works his tail off and expects the same thing from his coaching staff and his players. “The success they’ve had speaks for itself.” Macaulay is quick to credit his mentors, guys like Shaw, Klempner and former Rams head coach Frank Mccrystal. He took something from all of them, including a sense of family. “I want to make sure I work my hardest for the Regina Thunder so we have a place for 85 guys to come and play football,” he adds. “But I also want to put a product on the field that I hope the community and the fans in the stands can be proud of. To me it’s us working hard to give something back and do exactly what those (mentors) did for me.”