Former Winnipeg Blue Bomber’s kicker Justin Palardy is taking to the field once again. This time in a different role, with a different team.
Palardy has agreed to join the Dalhousie University Tigers football staff as a coach for the upcoming season. According to the 2017 CFL Guide and Record Book, Palardy is the seventh most accurate field goal kicker in Canadian Football League history.
Palardy has a positive attitude going into this season, saying he chose Dalhousie due to the program’s culture.
“I came here after asking myself ‘where am I going to have the most fun coaching and being around the game again?’”
Tigers’ Head Coach Mark Haggett says not many college programs are lucky to have a kicking coach with his experience.
Dalhousie Tigers’ kicker Turner Kinal has already benefitted from his first week with Palardy.
“There’s a lot of things he can teach us that we couldn’t learn elsewhere because of his experience,” Kinal says. “My kicks are already going 10 yards deeper than they were last year.”
Palardy started football in his hometown of Truro, Nova Scotia and played for Saint Mary’s University Huskies. He had a successful career at SMU, winning AUS All-Star kicker three times, as well as Rookie of the Year. He also won the AUS championships for three straight years.
Palardy was drafted by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2010 as a punter but was released after five games. He ended up being signed with the Blue Bombers where he was a field goal kicker for four years.
While playing with Winnipeg in 2010, Palardy had 86.7 per cent accuracy with his field goals at the end of the season, setting a new franchise record. He tied the same record in 2012. Palardy also has experience performing in big games. He kicked three field goals and two conversions during the 99th Grey Cup championship game. Despite Palardy’s performance, the Blue Bombers lost to the B.C Lions.
Palardy hopes to use what he learned during his CFL career to strengthen the Tigers’ squad, when he works with kickers and wide receivers as well.
“I had a front row seat to some of the best football players, so just observing different guys and positions brings a lot of different experience that a lot of the coaches don’t have just because of the level I played at,” says Palardy.
He has high hopes for the team as they work towards an Atlantic Football League Championship this year.
“It’s certainly a program that with more support – sky’s the limit,” says Palardy
Other coaching changes
Similar to Palardy, David Kelly and Bill Haley are also making their Dal coaching debut this season with Kelly as the new defensive coordinator and Haley as the defensive assistant.
Tigers’ alumni Zack Leger, Kenzie MacNeil, Casey Jones and Louis Gauvin have come into a coaching role as well–Leger as defensive assistant, MacNeil as defensive backs coach, Jones as the offensive line coach and Gauvin as the wide receiver’s coach.