Championships Mitchell Bowl

Men’s Football

East-West Bowl a coaching battle for the ages

Rafael Indyarta

The annual U SPORTS East-West Bowl will feature a roster of the best football players in the country, but the true battle lies outside the lines.

Coaching rivals Glen Constantin of Laval (East) and Greg Marshall of Western (West) will be leading the charge for their respective teams, in a Vanier Cup sideline rematch from the last two years.

A true showcase of Canadian football talent, these men are the two winningest active bench bosses in U SPORTS history: Constantin has won nine Vanier Cups and has 177 career victories, while Marshall has 158 wins and three Vanier Cups, including two as an offensive coordinator.

Last November, on Costantin’s home turf at Laval’s TELUS-UL Stadium, the Rouge et Or took the Vanier Cup over Marshall’s Mustangs. That game was a rematch of the nation’s two best teams, one year after Marshall got the win over Constantin, taking Western’s first Vanier Cup since 1994, in front thousands of Mustang faithful in Hamilton, Ont. 

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Saturday’s match at Carleton’s MNP Park will not be the first time either man has coached in the top prospects showcase. Constantin has coached in the event six previous times, including three straight years from 2011-13. Marshall was at the helm last year, leading the West squad to a tight 15-14 victory. Now, the stars have aligned for the long-time rivals, who will face off in the East-West Bowl for the first time.

“It’s a nice honour…the opportunity to coach other players is a unique experience and I’m really looking forward to it,” says Marshall about what it means to coach in the East-West Bowl.

Coach Constantin plans on keeping the offence simple, so the players can better showcase their talents.

“It’s important for them to have a great student-athlete experience, that they have their opportunity to showcase their skills to the CFL people…it’s like a week-long interview (for the players),” he says. 

“It’s important for them to have a great student-athlete experience, that they have their opportunity to showcase their skills to the CFL people… it’s like a week-long interview (for the players).”

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Coach Marshall agrees, adding the focus is on highlighting player talent, over the game’s outcome.

“It’s kind of a different emphasis…yeah we want to play well and we want to show well, but there is no underlying pressure of ‘Oh we have to win this football game,’” he says.

Both coaches have the luxury of having some familiar faces on their rosters, with Constantin having seven members of the Rouge et Or on the East Team, and Marshall getting four Mustangs on the West squad.

Although he will have some familiar faces, Coach Constantin says that he also sees the benefit of his own players receiving input from the rest of the East coaching staff as they prepare for the upcoming season.

“I actually like for our kids to be coached by someone else, so they learn something differently… and hope they could pick up a couple of skills that they can pick up when they come back in August,” he says.

“I actually like for our kids to be coached by someone else, so they learn something differently… and hope they could pick up a couple of skills that they can pick up when they come back in August.”

With a history dating back to the mid-90s to when they served as coordinators for their respective schools, the admiration is just as high as the competition between the two bench bosses.

“I have a ton of respect for Coach Constantin, he’s a very good friend of mine,” Coach Marshall says. “I can tell, when we won in 2017, he was disappointed as he was in the outcome of the game (as he) was happy for me, and vice versa last year.”

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To me (Coach Marshall) is one of the premier coaches in the country,” adds Coach Constantin.
“He runs a very good program, a steady program… it’s a program that wins consistently.”

Good friends and great football minds, the pair make the best possible choice to highlight the young football talent at the East-West Bowl, showcasing themselves ahead of next year’s CFL Draft.

“I want our players to have a good experience, I want them to stay healthy and I want them to showcase their abilities,” Coach Marshall says of his goals for the showcase.

Coach Constantin agreed with his colleague.

“My job is to make sure these kids have fun and they compete.”

“My job is to make sure these kids have fun and they compete.”

The East-West Bowl kicks off on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET / 9:30 a.m. PT, and will be streamed at USPORTS.LIVE.


Rafael_Indyarta.png (68 KB)Rafael Indyarta is the U SPORTS Communications Intern for the Summer of 2019. He is currently completing a Journalism Graduate Certificate at Humber College, but is also a  graduate of Queen's University. He has covered U SPORTS athletics for two years while at Queen’s, both on the radio and online, and also has been featured in 101.9 CFRC FM, Sweat Magazine and Canadafootballchat.com.