MacDougall leaving Amherst at years end

By Joel Charron

Next season when the General Amherst Sr. football team takes the field, they will be doing so without their head coach Jim MacDougall.

MacDougall, who joined General Amherst as a physical education teacher in 1999 and then was appointed the position of Athletic Director two years later, has accepted the Defensive Coordinator position at the University of Windsor.

The fiery football coach will also be the Athletic Director at Forster come next year.

“It’s a really good opportunity for me at the right time in my life,” said MacDougall.

After 13 years as an General Amherst teacher, Jim MacDougall will not be returning to Amherst next year. MacDougall was hired as the Lancers Defensive Coordnator and Athletic Director at Forster.

During MacDougall’s 13-year tender at Amherst he has coached teams to multiple titles including a 2007 OFSAA “AA” football championship and a Jr. Boys SWOSSAA basketball championship. Amherst also boasted the top ranked AA football team on five separate occasions.

MacDougall said when he let the students know of his decision, some of the students were visibly upset while other congratulated him and wished him luck.

“It was a lot tougher then I thought it was going to be,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better coaching/teaching situation. They are a great group of kids and I feel fortunate to work with them.”

MacDougall mentioned that making the decision to leave wasn’t an easy one because of the students and the memories he has complied during his time with the black and gold.

“I’ve had unbelievable memories since I’ve been here and had nothing but positive experiences,” said MacDougall.

MacDougall called Amherst “the premiere athletic school” in the area.

As a competitive person, MacDougall is always looking for new challenges and coaching at the University of Windsor provides that challenge.

Shortly after there was a change in leadership with the University of Windsor football program, MacDougall said he was urged by various people associated with the Lancers to entice him to leave for the University.  When the University of Windsor hired Joe D’Amore as their head coach, D’Amore contacted MacDougall and offered him the vacant defensive coordinator position.

“I thought about it and talked to the athletic director at length and came up with sort of a deal between the university and I that we’re both happy with,” he said.

MacDougall said he’s looking forward to trying the change to culture at the University of Windsor.

“I think the culture has been broken and the foundation is cracked,” said MacDougall.  “I’m looking forward to that challenge and it’s a huge challenge to teach those kids what it takes to be successful at that level.”

MacDougall will also be teaching at Forster, however because he said the defensive coordinator position would take the majority of his time, it wouldn’t be fair to the students to coach high school football. Although, MacDougall did mention that he will be involved in other sports.

With MacDougall leaving, it leaves the Amherst Sr. football program in limbo. Whoever they find to replace him, MacDougall stated that he hopes his successor is passionate.

“It will be up to the principal and the new Athletic Director to ensure that this program has the same success it has had the last number of years,” said MacDougall. “This program needs someone who’s passionate, that’s what I would like to see.”

With just under two months left in the school year, MacDougall said it’s the students that he will miss the most, stating that he has had the “honour” to be around Amherst students, who have made his job “as special as it is.”

“It’s been an outstanding 13 years as a teacher at this great school,” said MacDougall.

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