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John Foord stepping down as LeBoldus head coach

After over 30 years of coaching in the Regina high school football ranks, and 15 years as the Dr. Martin LeBoldus High School head coach, John Foord is stepping down into a lesser role.

From 2006 to 2021, Foord guided the Golden Suns to seven city and provincial championships, including five straight from 2012 to 2016, with wins in 2008 and 2019 as well.

Foord and LeBoldus players celebrate a 2015 provincial championship win in Saskatoon.

Foord served as a positional coach on the LeBoldus coaching staff for 10 years starting in 1991, and learned some valuable lessons along the way.

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“I think I just learned about passion and work ethic, and also the old saying that kids won’t care what you know unless they know that you care,” said Foord.

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As for the secret to the success that Foord enjoyed during his coaching tenure, he lauded praise on his positional coaches and support staff.

“I think surrounding yourself with great people is key, many hands make less work and obviously someone gave me some good advice to bring in the best quality people and surround yourself with them and they’re going to make you look really good,” said Foord.

Foord talks the offence through a play during a winter practice at LeBoldus. Photo courtesy of John Foord

“Coaching has been lots of fun for me. I’ve made so many great relationships and have so many good memories from coaching, and I remember former offensive co-ordinator John Hashem once told me that one of the greatest compliments you can bestow upon a player is to call them a future coach and leader. And one thing that I’m most proud of is that we’ve got a lot of leaders in our program that are past players.”

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The current LeBoldus coaching staff is a prime example of this, with receivers coach Daniel Scraper, defensive line coach Eric Wicijowski, defensive co-ordinator Joey Todd, offensive line coach Tanner Sokalofsky, defensive backs coach Kurtis Sullivan, and even the reporter writing this article, all having played football under the tutelage of Foord.

John Foord celebrates a provincial championship win in 2019 with his son Jack. Photo courtesy of John Foord

Foord says the timing of his departure from the head coaching role is right, in part because his son Jack just completed his final year as the starting quarterback of the team. Foord also wants to take a step back from the rigorous demands of the job to spend more time with his family, and he knows the team will be in good hands.

“I know our staff is very strong at LeBoldus. We’ve got a lot of good character, quality people there and at some point you have to say, ‘Hey, I think it’s time to hand over the torch and let someone else run with it for a little while,'” Foord said.

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Foord will be ceding head coaching duties to Ryan Giesbrecht, who teaches at LeBoldus and has been on the coaching staff for five years.

“I think the best thing that I learned from John was that I got to see the admin side of how he runs the football team, I got to see the on-field side of how he ran the football team, and I got to see the relationships you have with the coaches and players from the head coaching role,” Giesbrecht said.

Giesbrecht knows that Foord’s are big shoes to fill but is not one to back down from a challenge.

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“I’m nervous, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity to learn and I know with the coaching staff we have in place, we have the opportunity to be very successful,” said Giesbrecht.

Giesbrecht says he has learned many things about the game from Foord during his five years as a positional coach, but it’s another aspect entirely that he respects most about Foord.

“The biggest thing for me is the team culture that John has built with the players, coaches and support staff. That’s something that I really admire,” said Giesbrecht.

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Although Giesbrecht has learned the intricacies of football from Foord, that’s not to say that the newly minted head coach won’t be picking Foord’s brain for years to come.

“I will ask John probably a thousand questions every day. He is a library of football knowledge and I intend on visiting that library quite a bit,” Giesbrecht said.

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