Clinton Uttley resigned from his position as head coach of the McGill Redmen football team on Tuesday, Sept. 30, following McGill’s response to running back Luis-Andres Guimont-Mota’s arrest for assault and his subsequent suspension from the team.
In his resignation letter, Uttley wrote that McGill’s statement in response to the suspension “does not represent [my] personal morals or values with regards to sport, recruiting, and life in general.”
Guimont-Mota was arraigned in court last Thursday, Sept. 25 and released on bail. In 2011, he was also charged in Quebec City for assault and subsequently served a 90-day intermittent sentence in 2013. On Sept. 26, McGill referenced the 2011 case in an email to the university from Ollivier Dyens, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning), stating that “this individual should not have been invited to join [the] team. That was not in accordance with the values of [McGill’s] community.”
In his resignation statement, Uttley said that Guimont-Mota had already served his sentence for his 2011 conviction and that the case was not concealed from the university.
“I believe in rehabilitation,” his statement reads. “The student athlete accepted his conviction and did his punishment, a fact that was not hidden from the university. At the time of his arrival, the university tolerated and accepted his presence and then proceeded to celebrate his accomplishments thereafter.”
Dallon Kuprowski, U4 Arts student and quarterback for the Redmen football team confirmed that he was aware of Guimont-Mota’s previous conviction for assault.
“I wasn’t aware of the specifics of it, but [….] I was aware that [Guimont-Mota] was convicted of assault […] prior to the most recent allegations.” Kuprowski said
Dyens responded to Uttley’s resignation in an email sent to all students on Sept. 30.
“McGill accepts Coach Uttley’s resignation and thanks him for his dedication and service to McGill and the Redmen football team,” Dyens’ statement reads. “The university maintains that the pedagogical mission of our institution takes precedence. We wish Mr. Uttley well in his future endeavours.”
According to Uttley, all students should have access to universities, and those seeking rehabilitation should not be excluded.
“For McGill University to say now that this individual should not have been allowed on our team in the first place because of his past, deeply troubles me and in good conscience I cannot work for an organization that does not embrace equity and inclusiveness,” he said in his statement. “Post-secondary education should be accessible for all, not just the ones who have no known incidences. How can someone aspire to rehabilitation when the leading institutions of Quebec and Canada shun those who have made an error in judgment?”
Uttley further cited his own experiences with football programs during his undergraduate studies and the effect those opportunities had on his life.
“If the football coaches in my life had not provided me with an equal opportunity, I would not have completed a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education, and a Masters of Education in Inclusive Education,” his statement reads. “I wanted to give back to those who mentored and influenced me in a positive way through the use of sport as those who offered their support to me.”
“If providing young men with a second opportunity has effectively cost me my position as head football coach at McGill, then I accept that consequence in order to maintain a higher moral standard than what’s been dictated,” said Uttley in his letter.
According to Kuprowski, the goals for the Redmen football team remain unchanged.
“Our goals all along have been to be successful students and successful student athletes regardless of what individuals are in charge,” he said. “Right now, we’re just waiting on a decision from McGill Athletics to determine […] what the process will be moving forwards in terms of a head coach.”
McGill Athletics and Recreation announced the appointment of Patrick Boies and Ronald Hilaire, previously offensive and defensive coordinators, as co-coaches to replace Uttley.
“Coaches Boies and Hilaire will continue in their respective roles and assume additional responsibilities,” McGill Athletics Executive Director Drew Love stated in a media advisory. “They will work together with the rest of the coaching staff to maintain continuity in the program for the remainder of the year and we plan to name a head coach after the season is over. We will provide some additional administrative support to help the staff so they can focus on the football side of the program and support our student-athletes as we prepare for our remaining games.”
Uttley declined to comment beyond his released statement.
An earlier version of this article ran online on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014.