Jay Christensen hasn’t run across many junior football coaches who are more committed to their job than Okanagan Sun field boss Shane Beatty.
So it came as no surprise to the Sun GM when Beatty was named recently as the Canadian Junior Football League’s coach of the year.
“He’s one of the hardest working coaches I’ve seen and it’s nice the league has recognized that,” Christensen said of Beatty. “There’s no doubt he’s done a great job with the guys, and a lot of it has to do with tireless hours he puts in, the recruiting, breaking down film…he certainly deserves the recognition.”
Beatty, who was in Langley—the site of the Canadian Bowl—to accept the award, said the recognition stretches far beyond the efforts of one person.
“I think (the award) speaks for the program as a whole,” said Beatty. “It’s honour for me to be able to represent the organization in this way.”
After leading the club to a 7-3 record in his rookie season in 2013, Beatty upped the ante this year as the Sun went 9-1 and clinched the BCFC’s regular season title. After a first-round playoff win over Vancouver Island, Beatty and the Sun’s dream of a national championship fell short in a 23-19 loss to the Langley Rams in the conference final.
Still, Christensen said the steps the Sun has taken under Beatty’s tutelage has been commendable.
“The bottom line is, Shane helped put our team in a position to be successful,” said Christensen. “That game against Langley for a trip to the Canadian Bowl came down to the last drive, and really when you go into a season you can’t ask for a whole lot more than being in that position and having a chance.
“I know Shane would be the first person to give credit to the players for the season they had,” added Christensen, “but the time he put in and his passion for the job was such a huge part of the success we had.”
As much as the Sun has progressed during Beatty’s tenure, the head coach said the job is far from being done.
“We’re going in the right direction,” said Beatty. “Obviously, we’re disappointed we didn’t beat Langley, but our goal continues to be to win a national championship. I’m not planning to go anywhere until we take care of that.”
Beatty and Sun players who live in Kelowna during the off-season will begin their indoor workouts on the first Sunday in January at the Capital News Centre.
Hilltops win Canadian Bowl
The Saskatoon Hilltops defeated the Langley Rams 39-14 on Saturday at McLeod Stadium to win the Canadian Bowl.
The perennial powerhouse Hilltops have won the national junior football championship five times in the last eight seasons—two of the last three over Langley.
The Rams defeated the Okanagan Sun 23-19 in the BCFC final on Oct. 26 at the Apple Bowl.