Coach Sal ready for new role on Ticats radio broadcasts

After 18 years in the radio broadcast booth as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats primary colour commentator, John “Coach Sal” Salavantis will have a new role this season.

Salavantis will serve as an analyst on the pre-game show along with host Jim Tatti while former Ticat receiver Mike Morreale will take over the colour duties next to play-by-play man Marshall Ferguson, who enters his third season in the role.

The team and TSN1150, who owns the Ticats’ radio rights, announced the changes on Tuesday afternoon.

Salavantis, who served as an assistant coach with the club from 1985 to 1990, said the decision was made after discussions with team CEO Scott Mitchell.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time but it’s time to slow down a little bit,” said the 76-year-old Salavantis.

In addition to the games, the station announced two new weekly Ticats’-themed shows, The Most Interesting Man in Football with June Jones” and “The ‘X’ Factor with Lesley Stewart.”

The first will feature a 30-minute discussion with Ticat head coach June Jones on his “career and life experiences” while the second brings a well-known television personality to radio with what’s being billed as an “outside the lines” take on Tiger-Cats, CFL, and sports stories. Jones’ show will air at 7 p.m. on Monday while Stewart goes at the same time on Wednesdays.

Salavantis broadcast his first Ticat game in 1993, partnering with play-by-play man Bob Bratina. For the long-time coach, it was a new and nerve-wracking experience.

“I didn’t know what I was doing and Bob just said ‘be yourself,’” Salavantis said Tuesday after the news was announced. “So that’s what I did.”

Bratina would be the first of five broadcast partners Salavantis would work with, a roster that also includes Sportsnet’s Tim Micallef and CHML’s Rick Zamperin.

He also got to know some of the other legends around the league including Winnipeg’s Bob Irving and Edmonton’s Bryan Hall while developing a network of former players across the CFL.

“Without this job, I never would have been able to meet all these great people across the league. I really enjoyed the company of those people,” said Salavantis. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1570 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

18 Comments on Coach Sal ready for new role on Ticats radio broadcasts

  1. Does anyone know what happened to the cheer team???

    • Eddy Rayner // April 17, 2018 at 8:47 pm //


      We are looking for talented, outgoing, friendly men and women with a strong performance background to be a part of the 2018 Hamilton Tiger-Cats Performance Team.

      • yes but is gone and so is there instagram aann it sounds like Lesley is no longer involved….

  2. Probably a good idea. Hopefully you will interview Eric Tillman more often on the pregame shows. I love listening to that dude.

  3. Coach Sal….. a gentle man, a gentleman AND a scholar.
    One of the good guys.

  4. Kenny Hotz // April 17, 2018 at 5:31 pm //

    @BC–Yes more interviews with the diddler.

  5. Riders23 // April 17, 2018 at 6:01 pm //

    I enjoyed listening to Salavantis and his broadcast partner doing a game on XM- Radio while driving. I always had the feeling of listening to a hard nosed 50’s-60’s football guy broadcast REAL football ( brought back memories of watching or listening on radio the final years of the George and Ronnie tandem in Rider green during my early . years a boy). Sadly those voices like Salvantis are disappearing from the broadcast horizon. Best to Sal in his future undertaking and to the Ti-Cat organization and fan base for the upcoming season .

  6. Paul Smith // April 17, 2018 at 6:39 pm //

    Classless remark by Kenny Hotz

  7. Barry McCawkiner // April 17, 2018 at 7:00 pm //

    Coach Sals voice is Hamilton football. Can’t remember how many times I listening to the game in the garage working on the bike.. now… how do I watch me some Lesley Stewart???

  8. Coach Sal was great. Enjoyed listening to him.

  9. Ticats63 // April 18, 2018 at 3:24 pm //

    Coach Sal would explain to listeners what had just happened and what was likely to happen on the next play, for whatever the strategic football reason might be.

    Too bad the TSN television broadcast team of Black and Forde HAVE NO IDEA WHAT’s GOING ON IN A GAME! Instead, they repeat the “story of the game” 100 times about a certain player or whatever. How do those guys keep their jobs?

    I will really miss Coach Sal’s tremendous insight DURING the games – a huge loss, but at 76 its probably time to slow down a little. Good for you, Sal….and THANKS for your years of insight.

    • Flanker41 // April 18, 2018 at 4:08 pm //

      What a viewer has to understand about announcers on TV is that they are controlled by the producer/s. Pre-game they go over a loose ‘script’ of what stories they’d like to get across during the game. During the game they wear an IFB [intercom fold-back device]in they’re ear. The producers will ‘cue’ them to what shot might be coming/ remind them to look at their monitors and talk about what’s ‘on-air’/ correct them/ tell them that a replay is coming up/ etc. It’s frantic and unnerving and if you think you can do it you’re crazy. after saying all that I think Rod Black is a waste of skin and often shout at the srceen. He is revered at CTV because he can do almost any kind of coverage. He’s been there for-ever, he’s good-looking and even though he’s lousy at football, the producers like him because he’s malleable and professional. Forde I like. He does know the game but is a slow-talker. The other thing is a lot of viewers compare these guys with their counterparts in the NFL. The big difference is the amount of time between plays. They can tell their ‘stories’ in a slower fashion but mostly stick to the play on the field, which I wish TSN would focus on. The CFL and TSN are in a symbiotic relationship. Both want to build the league and ‘sell’ and that means more people buying tickets and more viewers watching the commercials. They think this broadcasting approach works. sell the fun and personalities, not the actual football game itself. i don’t agree with it but I do like that evey game is televised and that don’t come cheap! Thanks for allowing me to rant. I LOVE the CFL.

  10. Jim Harvie // April 18, 2018 at 4:26 pm //

    John Salavantis is the reason I listen to the radio while I watch games. I was a bit suspicious when I heard this news until I got to the 76 year old part. So Morreale is the man now while Sal is still nearby. I’m good with that. Good luck to all

  11. Tiger man // April 19, 2018 at 11:32 am //

    I love listening to Coach Sal.

    Very knowledgeable and great at communicating his knowledge to those of us who may not understand as completely as others.

    He is the reason I take a radio to the games.

    I can appreciate the circumstances, but speaking selfishly, I will miss him in the booth.

    Stay well, Coach.

  12. Loved listening to coach Sal. Too bad the TV and the radio aren’t in sync.

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