By Luke Carroll, file photo
Sandy Mackie took the position of head coach with the Carleton Ravens men’s soccer team in 1992. The program, then with no recognition or funding, would be transformed under Mackie to a team with full varsity status and a history of success.
His time with the program is coming to an end. Mackie stepped down from his role at the start of the 2016 season.
But he hasn’t left it completely as he is now manager of community outreach with the team.
Mackie was born in Glasgow, Scotland, made evident by his thick accent and obsession with the Glasgow Rangers Football Club. In 1976, he immigrated to Ottawa, with a wife, two kids, and no job awaiting him—a spur of the moment decision.
“Came on holiday the year before and decided, let’s try Canada,” Mackie said.
He also went on to become the longest-serving coach at the school. Mackie is a six-time Ontario University Athletics (OUA) coach of the year and the 2005 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) coach of the year. He led the team to a record 191 wins, a 0.709 winning percentage, five CIS national championship appearances, one OUA championship, and six undefeated seasons.
Stepping down from coaching the men’s soccer team after 24 years, Mackie said he doesn’t miss the game.
Former player, captain and assistant coach Kwesi Loney took over the responsibility of head coach for the 2016 season.
While leading the Ravens to wins on the field, Mackie was also embedded in the community, as the deputy police chief with the Ottawa Police from 1994-2001—an aspect of his life Loney said he kept close.
“He really kept that close to heart, I assume in that job he must’ve seen a lot,” Loney said.
Stewart Mackie, Sandy Mackie’s son, said his father cared about his two jobs, but never allowed them to interfere with the family.
“He’s like any other parent . . . He took pride in what he did, he never really took his work home,” he said.
Jennifer Brenning, director of recreation and athletics at Carleton, said the discipline associated with the policing background was a component to the success achieved on the field.
“He dealt with many, many situations as a police officer,” she said. “He could deal with conflict; he could read people really well.”
“Once you start talking to him one-on-one, you see he cares for you and wants the best for you,” said David Monk, second-year goalkeeper for Carleton.
Michael Calof, former player and team captain, attributes his personal success since graduating to the lessons Mackie taught him.
“It’s done a lot to develop me as a person and not just as a player,” Calof said.
Still living in the same city he grew up in, Calof credits Sandy Mackie for holding him accountable for his actions, something he needed to develop.
Mackie’s presence wasn’t just noticed by the individuals whose lives he touched. Loney said his parents mentioned Mackie in a speech at his wedding, as they understood the impact he had on their son maturing.
The disciplined, controlled and structured style of coaching may be attributed to his background as a police officer, but the care comes from being a family man.
Mackie said his only hobbies are watching sports and spending time with his family. Particularly his four grandkids, who are involved in swimming, hockey, karate, and yoga.
“You could see him running around the end zone with his grandkids after games,” Calof said.
The younger Mackie said his father took the same disciplined approach with him and his siblings growing up, but he also showed his compassionate nature.
“He was always there, he never missed a water polo game, never missed a parent-teacher interview; the family was the number one piece for him,” he said.