Carleton Coach Cherishes Opportunity To Help Team, Community
BY JEFF BUCKSTEIN
COREY GRANT BELIEVES in seizing opportunities. The Carleton Ravens men’s football coach has made the most of opportunities presented to him in both life and football, and now relishes the opportunity to give back by creating opportunities for both his players and the local community.
The 46-year old native of Stoney Creek, Ont. played wide receiver for the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, where he earned a degree in sociology, then realized a dream when he was drafted into the Canadian Football League by his hometown Hamilton Tiger Cats in 1999. He contributed to the Tiger Cats’ Grey Cup championship that season, and was named the team’s rookie of the year, and Eastern Division rookie of the year.
Grant also played for the Montreal Alouettes and Saskatchewan Roughriders, where he won a second Grey Cup in 2007 before finishing his 11-year CFL career in 2009 back with the Tiger Cats.
After retiring as a player, Grant used the teaching certificate he had earned while playing to teach primary school. He also seized assistant coaching opportunities with both the McMaster Marauders university football team, and the Tiger Cats, between 2010 and 2021.
In 2022, he accepted his first university head coaching job with the Ravens.
“Throughout my football coaching career I always wanted to become a head coach at the university level, and when this job became available I sat down with my wife Jennifer and discussed it. Doing my research on the opportunity at Carleton, and the support that would be here, I said ‘let’s go for it.’ And I’ve been happy since.”
The Grant family, which also includes daughter Qiawna, 14, and son Devonn, 12, both of whom play football, lives in Barrhaven.
“As we were looking around at where to live in Ottawa, we found Barrhaven had a great school, and was a great community,” he says.
Grant says his first priority in coaching is to build a proper foundation and culture that starts with having quality student- athletes who are also good people, and then making sure he provides the support they need to become the best leaders they can be in their sport and within the community.
That includes reaching out to the local football community. Through the Junior Ravens program, team members coach minor football, and show the younger players what it takes to be a leader. Those players, in turn, spend time at the Carleton Field House and TAAG Park, where Carleton plays its home games.
In turn, “the community is coming out and supporting our student-athletes because they are the leaders of tomorrow,” says Grant, who cites as an example the annual ‘Panda Game’ game with the University of Ottawa, which drew over 24,000 people in 2022.
“Last year was my first year being a part of that, and just seeing the love of football in the Ottawa community, I thought was great,” he says. Carleton is also creating a female apprenticeship program to have two women join the Ravens’ staff for the 2023 season.
“Football has sometimes been seen as a male dominant sport, but we want to change that narrative and make it into an inclusive sport to everyone,” Grant says. As the only Black football head coach in the OUA, “somebody had to open the door for me to get in and hold this position, and I want to make sure at Carleton that we keep opening doors for others,” he adds.