Bourgoin up to the challenge Bombers’ receivers coach brings wealth of experience, knowledge to the job
Read this article for free:
Already have an account? Log in here »
To continue reading, please subscribe:
Monthly Digital Subscription
$4.75 per week*
- Enjoy unlimited reading on winnipegfreepress.com
- Read the E-Edition, our digital replica newspaper
- Access News Break, our award-winning app
- Play interactive puzzles
*Billed as $19.00 plus GST every four weeks. Cancel anytime.
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/09/2022 (243 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It was one of the lowest moments of Kevin Bourgoin’s coaching career.
The current Winnipeg Blue Bombers receivers coach was at the University of Maine as an associate head coach/offensive co-ordinator. Bourgoin had been at Maine for 10 years, between 2005-2015, when longtime head coach Jack Cosgrove announced he was moving on.
It looked like Bourgoin was set for a promotion, but instead, the school opted to hire the team’s defensive co-ordinator, 29-year-old Joe Harasymiak. The hire made Harasymiak the youngest head coach in Division I football.
Now in his fifth season in Winnipeg, and second as wide receivers coach, the 50-year-old Bourgoin is happy things worked out the way they did.
“It was actually probably the best thing that could’ve happened to me professionally,” Bourgoin, who spent his first three seasons with the Bombers as the running backs coach, told the Free Press after Tuesday’s practice at IG Field.
“I think sometimes when you’re at a place for a long period of time, you know the system, you know the routes, you know the concepts, you know the Maine way. You’re not learning a bunch of different ways and you’re not growing as a coach sometimes. I think staying as long as I did, I think that may have hurt me a little bit as far as (learning) different ways of doing things… So that’s kind of why I like the CFL as it’s different.”
Paul LaPolice gets the credit for bringing Bourgoin to the three-down game. Bourgoin was considering moving on from coaching and was on the hunt for an athletic director job when LaPolice, the offensive co-ordinator for the Bombers at the time, gave him a call. Bourgoin and LaPolice met at a coaching clinic in Maine back in 1997 and have kept in touch ever since.
“It’s been good for my wife and for the kids. There’s a lot of opportunities here for them.”–Kevin Bourgoin
Bourgoin didn’t know much about the CFL, but LaPolice, now the head coach of the Ottawa Redblacks, convinced his longtime friend to come up north by sending him clips of the Labour Day Classic and Banjo Bowl.
Bourgoin, who put down roots in Winnipeg with his wife Amanda — who’s originally from Toronto, played softball at St. Bonaventure University, and coached softball at Husson University in Maine — and their two sons, Brendan and James, was sold and has been here ever since.
“When it came up and I had the opportunity, I was excited about doing it. Not that I was looking to leave or only come up here for a short time, but I didn’t realize that we’d be up here as long as we have or be in one place as long as we have,” Bourgoin said.
“It’s been good for my wife and for the kids. There’s a lot of opportunities here for them.”
The Bombers are glad Bourgoin, a former four-year starter at receiver at the University of Massachusetts, has stayed around as long as he has. Bourgoin worked with running back Andrew Harris when he led the league in rushing from 2016-19. Last season, his first coaching the receivers, he helped Kenny Lawler top the CFL in receiving yards and earn a huge payday from the Edmonton Elks.
This season has been Bourgoin’s most challenging yet as the team’s receivers have been hit hard by injuries all year long, but the Newport Beach, Mass., native has still been able to get a lot out of his group, most notably Dalton Schoen — the heavy favourite for the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie Award through 16 weeks of play.
“He’s helped a lot. Obviously, it’s tough coming up here as an American when you don’t really understand the game,” said Schoen.
“You have to adjust to all the new rules, the waggle, the offence, learning defences and stuff like that. I think Burgs has been awesome from rookie camp all the way forward. He takes the extra time with us young guys to explain things in more detail and explain the reason for stuff.”
“He’s helped a lot. Obviously, it’s tough coming up here as an American when you don’t really understand the game.”–Blue Bombers rookie receiver, Dalton Schoen
Bourgoin enjoys the personal side of being a position coach. Instead of focusing on the Xs and Os and what plays need to be called, Bourgoin helps players work on their skills.
“He played the position, he’s been a co-ordinator, he’s coached a lot of football and in different areas. All those different kinds of experiences add up to a guy who figures out how to relate pretty quickly,” said head coach Mike O’Shea.
“He’s been awesome for the guys.”
Despite being a two-time Grey Cup champion, Bourgoin believes he still has something left to accomplish in Winnipeg.
“I just want to be the best receiver coach in the league. When I got named receiver coach last year, that was what was on my mind,” Bourgoin said.
“I want to make sure I’m performing at the highest level I can for our guys, for our team, for the Bombers. But personally, I want to be the best receiver coach in the league.”
Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of...