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Valley Bulldogs’ Arsenault finalist for NFL Youth Coach of the Year

Head coach Paul Arsenault gives some words of advice to his atom Bulldogs players earlier this season. Arsenault was announced last week as one of 10 Canadian finalists for the NFL Youth Coach of the Year award. 
Head coach Paul Arsenault gives some words of advice to his atom Bulldogs players earlier this season. Arsenault was announced last week as one of 10 Canadian finalists for the NFL Youth Coach of the Year award. 

KINGS COUNTY - Paul Arsenault didn’t start playing football until high school, but his passion for the pigskin has prompted him to help give other young players the chance to play at a younger age.

Now, the atom Bulldogs’ head coach has been named one of 10 Canadian finalists for the NFL youth coach of the year award.

“It’s a huge honour to be a finalist,” he said, “and very touching to know someone took the time to nominate me.”

High school football was the first level available to Arsenault, a native of Charlottetown, P.E.I. He developed into a gifted kicker, once kicking a 53-yard field goal during a game.

When he graduated from high school, he received interest from Acadia and Saint Mary’s, choosing Acadia “because it seemed at the time like a slower-paced community that reminded me of home.”

Unfortunately, his university football career “didn’t last long,” as he “had a hard time balancing school and sports.”

In 2006, he joined the Valley bantam Bulldogs as a special teams coach, and in 2008, was part of the first provincial championship team in Bulldogs history.

He did a student teaching placement at Hants West and Avon View, and eventually coached both minor football in Windsor and high school football at Avon View.

He is currently a substitute teacher with the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board.

He began a spring youth football camp in 2009. Two years later, in 2011, he oversaw the formation of the Valley Minor Football mite division, and served as mite head coach for three years before moving up to the atom division this season.

“To me," Arsenault says, “the Bulldogs family is a hidden gem here in the Valley. Over the last four years, I’ve seen the majority of these kids grow up on the football, soccer, basketball and baseball fields. They are a great group of kids.”

Rob Suffron, Arsenault’s predecessor as atom Bulldogs’ coach - and now the peewee head coach - is also president of Valley Minor Football.

“(Arsenault) is an incredible asset to Valley Minor Football. He is a great teacher of the sport, and loves to develop young players. Paul works behind the scenes to get ready for games and practices more than anyone I know. He is often the first person at the field and the last to leave,” Suffron said.

“When I started coaching, it was great to have someone like Paul around to lean on. Seeing the amount of work he put into the sport taught me what was needed in order to be successful.”

Suffron said Valley Minor Football would be rooting for Arsenault.

“On behalf of the Valley Minor Football Association, I wish him luck (with the award). I cannot think of a more deserving coach,” he said.

 

About the award

The award, now in its 16th year, is presented in conjunction with Football Canada.  The award is designed to recognize community or high school-level coaches across Canada who dedicate themselves to the development of young players, both on and off the field.

There have been two Nova Scotia winners of the NFL Youth Coach of the Year since its inception in 1999.

Mike Tanner, then of Queen Elizabeth High School in Halifax, won the inaugural award in 1999. Quentin Tynes, an Acadia graduate and former football Axemen player, was the national winner in 2013 for his work with Halifax Minor Football. 

Now, the atom Bulldogs’ head coach has been named one of 10 Canadian finalists for the NFL youth coach of the year award.

“It’s a huge honour to be a finalist,” he said, “and very touching to know someone took the time to nominate me.”

High school football was the first level available to Arsenault, a native of Charlottetown, P.E.I. He developed into a gifted kicker, once kicking a 53-yard field goal during a game.

When he graduated from high school, he received interest from Acadia and Saint Mary’s, choosing Acadia “because it seemed at the time like a slower-paced community that reminded me of home.”

Unfortunately, his university football career “didn’t last long,” as he “had a hard time balancing school and sports.”

In 2006, he joined the Valley bantam Bulldogs as a special teams coach, and in 2008, was part of the first provincial championship team in Bulldogs history.

He did a student teaching placement at Hants West and Avon View, and eventually coached both minor football in Windsor and high school football at Avon View.

He is currently a substitute teacher with the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board.

He began a spring youth football camp in 2009. Two years later, in 2011, he oversaw the formation of the Valley Minor Football mite division, and served as mite head coach for three years before moving up to the atom division this season.

“To me," Arsenault says, “the Bulldogs family is a hidden gem here in the Valley. Over the last four years, I’ve seen the majority of these kids grow up on the football, soccer, basketball and baseball fields. They are a great group of kids.”

Rob Suffron, Arsenault’s predecessor as atom Bulldogs’ coach - and now the peewee head coach - is also president of Valley Minor Football.

“(Arsenault) is an incredible asset to Valley Minor Football. He is a great teacher of the sport, and loves to develop young players. Paul works behind the scenes to get ready for games and practices more than anyone I know. He is often the first person at the field and the last to leave,” Suffron said.

“When I started coaching, it was great to have someone like Paul around to lean on. Seeing the amount of work he put into the sport taught me what was needed in order to be successful.”

Suffron said Valley Minor Football would be rooting for Arsenault.

“On behalf of the Valley Minor Football Association, I wish him luck (with the award). I cannot think of a more deserving coach,” he said.

 

About the award

The award, now in its 16th year, is presented in conjunction with Football Canada.  The award is designed to recognize community or high school-level coaches across Canada who dedicate themselves to the development of young players, both on and off the field.

There have been two Nova Scotia winners of the NFL Youth Coach of the Year since its inception in 1999.

Mike Tanner, then of Queen Elizabeth High School in Halifax, won the inaugural award in 1999. Quentin Tynes, an Acadia graduate and former football Axemen player, was the national winner in 2013 for his work with Halifax Minor Football. 

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