Known for getting caught up in the stresses and tensions of the game, Jerry Gonser coached the basketball Mustangs from 1964 until 1974. Before taking over as head coach, Gonser was assistant to John Metras for two years and coached basketball at Port Huron Junior College in Michigan before that.
When he first took over training the Cage Mustangs in the 1964-65 season his stress was understandable. He began coaching the Mustangs during the most trying period in their sixty years in existence.
His first year of coaching the team has been called “a nightmare” and his last was not any better. The 1973-74 season was actually thought of at the time – and possibly even still to this day, when compared to other stats – as the worst record in the history of basketball at Western.
Even with the dismal stats at the beginning and end of his ten years with the Mustangs, Gonser coached the team to a notable Ontario University Athletic Association championship title win in the 1967-68 season. The season was touch-and-go with two of the team’s star players facing injuries, but they came through in the end.
Despite the difficulties and hardships of many losses he faced over the years, Coach Gonser never gave up on the team and always did what he could to help them improve. After thirty-four years as a coach at the university, one who was always a strong proponent of physical activity and physical education, Gonser retired from Western in 1996.