Scott Milanovich calls Tiger-Cats’ Canadian coach Jarryd Baines ‘a rising star’

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography

According to Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ head coach Scott Milanovich, the team’s quarterbacks coach Jarryd Baines has his arrow pointing up.

The 34-year-old has earned Milanovich’s respect since the 2012 CFL Coach of the Year came to Hamilton in 2023.

“Highly intelligent. We see the game similarly. He’s got a lot to give, a lot to offer, loves the game, high energy, works his ass off every single day. He’s a rising star,” Milanovich said.

After starting his coaching career as a defensive quality control coach in 2015 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Baines has worked his way up with the Ticats. He spent two years in offensive quality control, two seasons as an assistant receivers coach, two years as receivers coach, one season as running backs coach, and last year was the team’s receivers coach and pass game analyst.

The Ottawa native has earned his quarterbacks coach promotion for this year.

“J.B. has aspirations to be an offensive coordinator. What he needs is exposure to the quarterback room, he can only get that through reps. He and I will work closely. I really wanted to free him up from some of the other tasks that he had to do last year to be able to help game plan more,” Milanovich said.

“He’s not getting a lot of say over the quarterbacks, don’t get it twisted. I am trying to get him exposure because I think he’s a bright young mind. I think he has the ability to potentially do it. He’s gotta get that exposure and learn the other side of it because he didn’t play, that’s what makes it hard. I think he’ll have an opportunity one day.”

During Week 18 last season, while Milanovich was away from the team for personal reasons, Baines called pass plays while offensive line coach Mike Gibson handled the run game. Bo Levi Mitchell and Matt Shiltz combined to complete 20-of-25 passes for 400 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in a 38-13 win at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.

“He and Gibby worked pretty closely in the Saskatchewan game. Gibby had the hammer relative to calling plays but in the pass game, J.B. had a lot of input,” Milanovich said.

The 51-year-old seems to have an affinity for those in Canadian football from the University of Guelph. Chris Rossetti and Curtis Rukavina worked with Milanovich in Toronto on the player personnel side and have since gone on to jobs in the NFL.

Baines played five seasons at linebacker with the Gryphons from 2008 to 2012, recording 128.5 tackles, seven fumble recoveries, five quarterback sacks ,and three interceptions. He was a captain and named the team’s Defensive Player of the Year in his senior season.

Despite being on defence as a player, Baines has made the changeover to the offensive side of the football and earned respect from Mitchell, a future Canadian Football Hall of Famer, and Taylor Powell, who is ascending entering his second year.

“He’s been tremendous. He’s super smart, he’s going to be one helluva coach later and he already is,” Powell said. “He knows the game really well, he’s been super helpful in the transition of this offence. He’s done a great job of getting us ready and preparing.”

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.