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.”