Coach's Corner

Wils Molloy - "Simply the Best"

By Gord Dunphy

Well, if hockey fans can refer to Wayne Gretzky as the "Great One", and Mario Lemieux as the "Magnificent One", maybe the soccer fans of Newfoundland and Labrador should refer to Wils Molloy of St. Lawrence who was known as "Boomer" in his early days as "Simply the Best"

Impressive Credentials

Wils Molloy played a major role in the winning of 41 soccer championships. Included in this extremely impressive list of soccer championship teams on which Molloy played are: nine provincial first division crowns, five Eastern Canadian titles, nineteen Burin Peninsula first division crowns and eight provincial masters championships.

The climax of Molloy's career may have come in 1972, when he was selected as a member of Canada’s Olympic Team. He performed for Canada against Mexico in a Olympic qualifying game played at Varsity Stadium in Toronto, Ontario. He played against Ayre United of Scotland in ‘74 and ‘75 and against Queen Park Rangers of Scotland in ‘78.

He scored the only goal for St.Lawrence in a 3-1 loss to Toronto in ‘67 Challenge Cup, the first time that Newfoundland was ever represented at national competition. Wils scored twice as a member of Newfoundland’s Challenge Cup All-Star Select Team which beat Ontario for the first time in Challenge Cup play in Winnipeg in 1970, and he also notched the winning goal as Newfoundland won the Eastern Challenge Cup in ‘75. Perhaps the greatest single-game performance came in the 1970’s National Challenge Cup when Wils scored five times against Nova Scotia despite sitting out the first half of the game.

Wils’ red hair combined with his shooting talent and the ability of heading the ball made number nine of the Laurentians loved at home, hated by opponents but respected by all. Molloy was voted "Player of the Decade" for the 70’s and he was ranked the top soccer player in the sport of Newfoundland soccer during a poll done in 1994.

Involved In Coaching

In the late 1980’s, after he had completed playing at the senior level, Wils tried coaching for a period but became frustrated with players not performing at the same level to which he had been accustomed during his playing days.

In 1992 when I became head coach of the St. Lawrence Laurentians, I felt that in order to be successful as a head coach, my first instinct would be to try and surround myself with a very knowledgeable and respected player to act as an assistant coach. This I did. I got a person who was by now inducted into the St. Lawrence Soccer Hall-Of-Fame, Burin Peninsula Soccer Hall-Of-Fame, Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Hall-Of-Fame, and a person who had been inducted into the highest honour bestowed on any athlete in Newfoundland and Labrador, an induction into the Sport Newfoundland and Labrador Hall-Of-Fame. That individual was Wils Molloy. I breathed his knowledge, dissected his thoughts, inhaled them, and I then completely applied them as I saw fit. I attribute my personal coaching accomplishments, and the St Lawrence Laurentians team’s successes to this living legend.

Soccer associations and sport governing bodies should construct monuments or display plaques of recognition for individual achievements or team accomplishments, especially for something which is so prestigious to your community and your heritage.

Molloy Answers Questions

The soccer powers should use the Wils Molloy’s of soccer to try and improve the direction of our program. Recently I sat down with Wils and asked him to reveal some of his past experiences and present day thoughts of the game.

Q.) What was Molloy’s greatest thrill?

A.) Playing with the Canadian Olympic Team in 1972.

Q.) What was Molloy’s greatest disappointment?

A.) Losing to B.C. in the Challenge Cup final hosted by St. Lawrence in 1977.

Q.) Who was Molloy’s most respected forward opponent of all time?

A. ) Frank (Red) Fizzard of the Grand Bank Gee-Bee’s.

Q.) Who was Molloy’s most respected goalie opponent of all time?

A.) Gord Grandy of the Grand Bank Gee-Bee’s.

Q.) Who was Molloy’s most respected midfielder/halfback opponent of all time?

A.) George "Bow" Collier of the Fortune Apollo's.

Q.) Who was Molloy’s most respected fullback opponent of all time?

A.) Max Crocker of the Grand Bank Gee-Bee’s.

Q.) How did you feel about moving back to play fullback after being the star striker?

A.) I really didn’t care, actually I had no other choice. When coach Jack Simms made the change I then left a lot of my fullback duties to our captain , Keith Farrell.

Q.) Name some of the top Laurentian players you played with.?

A.) Bob Slaney, Al Slaney, Keith Farrell, Frank Tobin, Cyril Quirke, Keith Walsh, Sam Tobin, Brendan Slaney, Joe Turpin, Norm Kelly, Junior Edwards, Phonse Cooper, Tom Tarrant, Greg Qurike, Reg Farrell, Junior Doyle, Frank Haskell, Rudy Slaney, Frank Pittman, Jim Loder , Ray Molloy, Hugh Tarrant, Mario Tarrant and Carl Ferrie.

Q.) In conclusion what can we do to improve the game?

A.) I would forget about the All-Stars programs and concentrate on the club or community teams where adults would be coaching these minor players and the students hired on for the summer would do the assistant coaching. If this doesn't occur, then soccer will continue to decline.