It was 1994 and nearly the end of football practice for the Western Mustangs.
Then-Mustang head coach Larry Haylor stood back observing as Western ran a play for the third or fourth time.
The ball was snapped cleanly. It was handed off cleanly. The running back moved right along the offensive line.
But that’s where the play was stuffed. With playoffs on the horizon and in what would wind up being a championship season, the Mustangs weren’t about to call and end to practice with something not going the way it should.
Haylor’s distinct voice rang out and he jogged over and spoke quickly to one of his tight ends. Haylor had seen something that took him no more than a few seconds to convey to a player.
“Run it again,” yelled out Haylor.
The ball was snapped and handed off. The running back moved along the line and cut in right where he was supposed to and found his way forward into the secondary.
Haylor’s eyes had seen what he needed to and his whistle signalled an end to the workout on a good note.
Haylor died on Jan. 7 at the age of 76 after suffering a heart attack.
The native of Saskatchewan had a brilliant mind for football. He was a quarterback with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. Haylor knew the game about as well as the game knows itself.
He led Western to eight Yates Cup championships between 1985 and 1998 and two Vanier Cup titles in 1989 and 1994.
Haylor retired from coaching in 2006 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014.
His record as a university coach with both Western and the University of Saskatchewan Huskies ranks as the best in Ontario University Athletics and is second to only Brian Towriss of Saskatchewan at the USports level.
Haylor joined Western’s Wall of Champions in 2009 and is a member of the London Sports Hall of Fame.