Coaching Association of Canada

Coach Q&A: Peter Connellan

November 1, 2011

Legendary University of Calgary football coach Peter Connellan has just been announced as an inductee into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.  In the 13 years that he led the Dinos, Peter never posted a losing season.  His teams won eight conference championships, advanced to five CIS national finals, and won the Vanier Cup four times (’83, ’85, ’88, ’95).  He was named Canada West Coach of the Year in 1977 and 1995, 3M Coaching Association of Canada Canadian Male Coach of the Year in 1990, and CIAU Coach of the Year in 1977 and 1985.

To watch a great video about Peter’s career, please visit:

Coach’s Full name: Peter Connellan
Province: Alberta
Sport(s): Football
Coaching role: Former Head Football Coach, University of Calgary
NCCP Status: Certified Level 4

What is your greatest coaching moment/achievement?
A successful coach must strive for consistency. The football program at the University of Calgary maintained a high level of consistency over a relatively long period of time.

What are three things you think every coach should know?

  1. Be aware of the ramifications of how you influence players and others on and off the field.
  2. The importance of planning.
  3. The importance of defining roles for players and coaches and the importance of helping the players and coaches accept their roles. Have a system to measure their success.

Why did you decide to become a coach?
I graduated with a Physical Education degree followed by a Bachelor of Education. I began coaching various teams as part of my teaching responsibilities at the high school level. I enjoyed the challenges of coaching all sports but eventually focused on football.

How would your athletes describe your coaching style in three words?
Approachable. Fair. Demanding.

What is the most important thing you learned as part of your NCCP training?
The importance of a base knowledge in all areas that are relevant to coaching success. The program enabled me to identify areas in which I had to become more knowledgeable.

Why is being a coach the best job in the world?
Coaching gives the coach an opportunity to plan, prepare and receive relatively immediate feedback as to your success as a ‘teacher’. The coach is in a position to influence players and others connected with the team in a positive way both on and off the field.

Any other words of wisdom for Canada’s coaches?
Coaching is hard and time consuming. A successful coach ‘leaves no stone unturned’ while striving to improve and be successful.  The important skill is to be able to compartmentalize your approach and above all else, maintain an acceptable balance between family, other responsibilities, and coaching. Coaching should not become all consuming.

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