Former Muskie star pivot making transition as head coach

Friday was Homecoming but it wasn’t the most pleasant one for former Muskie star Brett Watt.
Watt, who quarterbacked the black-and-gold to an NWOSSAA title during his high school career here, returned to Westfort field last week as the first-year head coach of the Sturgeon Creek Schooners of Winnipeg.
He left town with his team on the short end of a 62-0 shellacking.
“Coming back to Fort for the first time after playing there was exciting,” said Watt. “I was excited the whole week knowing that we were playing against the Muskies.
“I was nervous because I knew the Muskies were a good team because I’ve been keeping in contact with Bobbie [Swing],” he added.
After high school, Watt went on to star with the University of Manitoba Bisons in the mid-1990s, breaking several team records along the way. But now his thoughts are teaching high school-aged players the game.
And he admitted it’s a job that takes up a lot of his time–estimating he puts in about 30 hours a week conducting practices and breaking down game film. He usually doesn’t make it home until 7:30 or 8 p.m.
“The coach’s mentality is different in that you have to break down game film and try to learn the other team’s tendencies,” he noted. “You’re always thinking about football.”
And right now, Watt is the head of a very young and inexperienced football team. Once the quarterback looking to the coach for direction, the shoe is now on the other foot.
“Sure it’s different because when you’re a player, you just have to go out and make plays,” Watt explained. “But as a coach, you can’t go out on the field, you just teach [the game] to the kids. It’s totally different. It’s a huge difference.
“I spent four days with [Swing] learning the ins and outs of running practices,” he added.
Still, he admits he’s having a lot of fun in the head coaching job despite the fact his Schooners have struggled so far with an 0-1-1 record in the Winnipeg high school league.
“We have some guys on our team that also play Bantam, and not to be pessimistic with the coaching there, but it’s not that great,” he noted. “And then we lost 22 veterans from last year and the kids had to learn a new system, which is tough on those grade nine, 10s, and 11s.”
Watt also said he was impressed with the job Swing and his staff have done with the Muskie football program–and stressed this year’s edition of the black-and-gold could compete seriously for the league title in Manitoba.
“I was really impressed with Fort’s speed. They were a lot quicker than we were,” he observed. “And individually, you have to be impressed with [running back Terry] LaBelle. His running skills were awesome.”
And even though his team suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Muskies, Watt said he might bring another Sturgeon Creek team back to Fort Frances.
“I’d love to go back. It reminded me of the old days in Fort, and Bobbie and I have grown up together so we have a bit of a rivalry going,” he enthused.
“It’s always exciting for a team to have a trip out of town,” he added. “Even though [we] got whomped 62-0, [we] had fun and [we] played a lot better in the second half.”