McMaster head coach Stefan Ptaszek is headed to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to take over as the team’s offensive co-ordinator, sources say.
The Ticats have been looking for someone to fill the position since Tommy Condell unexpectedly resigned from the team a month ago citing family reasons.
Ptaszek could not be reached for comment, however an official announcement expected in the next couple of days.
There’s no doubt this would be a plum acquisition by the black and gold. In spite of the fact that he’s never coached at the pro level, the 45-year-old Burlington native has an impressive resume in the university game.
As a player at Wilfrid Laurier, he won the 1991 Vanier Cup before turning pro. As offensive co-ordinator at his alma mater, he helped the Golden Hawks win back-to-back Yates Cups and the 2005 Vanier Cup.
And of course, his work at McMaster since arriving in 2006 is well-known. Three times his team has won the Yates Cup. Three times it’s been to the Vanier Cup, winning once. His team holds the national record for longest winning streak at 21 games. And he was national coach of the year in 2012.
He’s got good offensive chops and he’s a phenomenal motivator.
Which is why as good as this might be for the Ticats – and it is – it’s devastating for the Marauders.
Ptaszek is seen as a father figure by most of his players. Guy after guy on the team has spoken almost reverentially of him over the years.
Last September when he signed a two-year contract extension with the school, every player who talked about him was beyond thrilled, saying they’d do anything for the man.
“He’s unique,” receiver Danny Vandervoort said. “I feel he’s like no other coach.”
“We all love him,” offensive lineman Nick Firlit said.
“He’s nothing but good for the program,” added lineman Tom Sterling.
That now has to be replaced. Trouble is, it’s basically impossible to find a coach that every player likes and respects. That’s unique. Especially this late in the off-season.
The Ticats unexpectedly found themselves in need of an offensive co-ordinator because of Condell’s surprising departure. So they had to make their move when they settled on their guy.
That said, grabbing Ptaszek after McMaster has already held its spring camp and is not far from its own season moves the we’re-in-a-tough-spot meter from one local team to the other.