Canadian Football League

Friday, August 17, 2007

Former Canadian Football League player named assistant coach VMI

VMI Football has added two new assistant coaches for the upcoming 2007 season.Head coach Jim Reid announced that former University of Richmond defensive standout Winston October will coach the defensive backs while former VMI tight end Greg Harris '97 will be an assistant defensive line coach and will work with defensive ends.October, a four-time All-Atlantic 10 defensive back selection during his playing days at Richmond while Reid was head coach of the Spiders, October served as team captain during the Spiders’ Atlantic 10 championship season in 1998 and was named All-America by The Sports Network and graduated in 1999 with a B.A. in Communications and later went on to the professional football ranks playing first with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL for four seasons including a pair with VMI alumnus and rushing record holder Thomas Haskins. After a brief stint with the Washington Redskins in 2001, October returned to the CFL to play in 70 games for the Edmonton Eskimos through the 2004 season.October comes to VMI after working in the personal training and fitness industry in New York City for two years and later serving as the “Team for Kids” Metro Coordinator for the New York Road Runners Foundation since last spring. An active participant in community service, October has volunteered his time for Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Clubs and youth reading programs. While living in Canada playing for the Edmonton Eskimos, October helped save lives from a burning building and was featured on CNN’s Connie Chung Live.October replaces Richard McNutt, who became defensive backs coach for the University of Toledo in late July.“Winston October was a model citizen and great student at the University of Richmond and a big factor in our championship in 1998,” said Reid. “He was a great ambassador for us to the Richmond community and people there still remember the class and dignity of Winston October. Certainly when we had this late change in staff, we had to quickly go out and find someone of great character, great work ethic, and great skill in football, and Coach Winston October certainly fits that description.”October is also reunited with current VMI defensive line coach Jeff Hanson who recruited him to the University of Richmond in 2004.Harris returns to the Institute to assist with the defensive line and will work with the defensive ends. He will also help out with video analysis and a number of other projects with the Keydet football program.A 1997 graduate of VMI with a B.A. in Business and Economics, Harris was a four-year letterman and three-year starter and had the reputation as one of the team’s best blockers in Coach Bill Stewart’s two-tight end alignment that helped running back Thomas Haskins set a new Division I-AA career rushing mark. As a receiver Harris was equally effectively and caught 47 passes for 431 yards and three touchdowns during his Keydet 41-game career. He served as a team captain for the 1996 season and was a Dean’s List Student.After graduation, Harris went into private business and worked in sales for Ferguson Enterprises from 1997 to 2002 and later for Hughes Supply, Inc where he was one of 100 recipents out of 10,000 employees to be awarded a Mark of Excellence Award for increasing sales and gross profit dollars. Harris is a close to completing his post-graduate work for a M.S. in Education in Sports Management from Old Dominion University. He has been a long-time member of the Keydet Club and is a Leadership Level contributor. Harris becomes the lone VMI alumnus on the Keydet football coaching staff.“Greg Harris was someone who wanted to get into coaching, was a great player here and understands VMI,” said head coach Jim Reid. “He understands the VMI system totally and was extremely respected on the Hill as a cadet and former athlete. He is the definition of a living three-legged stool and VMI man. Our players should look to him for guidance, leadership, and we believe Greg is a great product of his family and certainly VMI and we are proud to have him.”


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