It has been a few days and it is still tough to picture Stefan Ptaszek being in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' coaches box instead of the McMaster Marauders sideline.
For not just his 10 seasons at Mac, Ptaszek has been an staple on the thinking man's side of the ball in Ontario University Athletics - star receiver at Laurier who transitioned into coaching, then took over the Marauders in 2006 after they had a couple of so-so post-Greg Marshall seasons. The move up is richly deserved.
Meantime, TSN 1150's Marshall Ferguson has a survey of potential interim head coaches for the 2016 Marauders. Early May is a little late in the game to make a permanent hire due to the hiring procedures at most CIS schools.
Greg Knox, the former Mac D coordinator, is now with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as defensive backs coach. It would seem unorthodox for a coach to leave a pro program that's already started its season to take a university job. Most coaches are wired to finish what one has started.
Offensive coordinator Jon Behie has been a coach-in-waiting for several seasons. He's as Hamilton as the Bedrock Bistro, and has certainly put in the time that merits a move up to the big job.
Anyway, good on Ptaszek for getting the call up to the CFL. Greg Marshall and Thérèse Quigley, now coach and AD at Western, laid all the groundwork in the 1990s and aughties for McMaster to go from underachiever to a bona fide football program.
When McMaster finally won the Vanier Cup in 2011, there was a narrative about how much this owed to Marshall. That did sort of take away from how Ptaszek, Behie and Knox instilled both a systemic shift and an attitude adjustment that enabled the Marauders to get by Laval in the 2011 Vanier Cup. The Marauders 1.0 that won four Yates Cups in a row dominated their conference mostly through ground-and-pound physical prowess, but that only got them so far. Of course, the narrative would be much, much different if McMaster had not had a potential game-winning touchdown pass sail just inches beyond a receiver's grasp against Laval in the 2003 Mitchell Bowl, which was Marshall's last game leading the Marauders.
Upon arrival in 2006, Ptaszek tweaked the offence to make it more about motion and misdirection. Knox also cultivated an attacking defence. That made for some memorable teams, and wins.