Marauders’ field boss judged best in Canada


McMaster’s Stefan Ptaszek celebrates the team’s Yates Cup win. (Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson, Aerial Promotions)

Toronto – McMaster’s Stefan Ptaszek was named coach of the year in Canadian Interuniversity Sport football on Wednesday (Nov. 21) while Zach Androschuk from the University of Guelph received the Russ Jackson Award recognizing excellence in football, academics and citizenship.

Ptaszek and Androschuk were honoured in front of a sold-out crowd of over 400 guests during the AMJ Campbell All-Canadian Awards Banquet at Ontario Place.

More CIS hardware will be handed out on Thursday night during the Gibson’s Finest CFL Player Awards at Koerner Hall, including the Hec Crighton Trophy (outstanding player of the year), Presidents’ Trophy (defensive MVP), J.P. Metras Trophy (outstanding down lineman) and Peter Gorman Trophy (rookie of the year).

The 48th Vanier Cup final between the Laval Rouge et Or and McMaster Marauders is set for Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Rogers Centre, live on TSN and RDS. Pre-game coverage on TSN starts at 7 p.m.

Ptaszek joins Greg Marshall (2000) and Bernie Custis (1982) as the only McMaster head coaches to merit the Frank Tindall Trophy.

In his seventh campaign at the helm, the 41-year-old guided his troops to the program’s first 8-0 regular season since 2003. A year after claiming their first-ever national title, the Marauders resumed their domination in conference play as they led Ontario University Athletics in six of eight major statistical categories, including points scored (45.6 per game), total yards (582.5), passing offence (370.0), fewest points against (15.6), fewest total yards allowed (340.2) and best rush defence (104.6).

Going into Friday’s Vanier Cup final, the Hamilton powerhouse has won a CIS-record 21 consecutive league and playoff games dating back to Week 3 of the 2011 schedule.

Ptaszek has led the Marauders to the post-season in each of his seven years as bench boss, including back-to-back Yates Cup banners and the 2011 Vanier Cup triumph. He heads into Friday’s contest with a 51-19 (.729) overall record since taking over the program, including a 42-14 (.750) mark in league play and 9-5 (.643) in the playoffs.

A native of Burlington, Ptaszek began his CIS journey as a star receiver at Wilfrid Laurier University (1990-94), where he was a three-time all-Canadian and earned his first of three Vanier Cup rings in 1991. Following a four-year CFL career with BC, Hamilton and Toronto, he embarked on his coaching career at the high school level and then returned to CIS as UBC’s special teams coordinator. He returned to his alma mater and helped guide the Golden Hawks to the 2005 Vanier Cup title in his third and final season as offensive coordinator.

“There is no doubt that the heart and soul of McMaster Marauder football is Stefan Ptaszek,” said Jeff Giles, director of athletics and recreation at McMaster. “His energy, passion, and most importantly his commitment to the success of each and every student-athlete have securely positioned this program among the elite in this country. For Stefan to be recognized as the CIS coach of the year is a tremendous accomplishment and a true honour that everyone at McMaster is very proud of.”

Other nominees for the award were Jeff Cummins, Acadia, Glen Constantin, Laval, and Blake Nill, Calgary.

Androschuk is the first member of the Gryphons to receive the Russ Jackson Award since the inception of the trophy in 1986.

On the field, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound defensive back is a two-year captain of the special teams unit and a four-year starter who won the team’s Kyle Walters Trophy in 2011 for being the best-prepared player on the Guelph roster. This fall, in his fifth and final CIS season, he ranked sixth on the team with 30.5 tackles in eight league games and also had one interception and a fumble recovery as the Gryphons took second place in OUA with a program-best 7-1 record.

In the classroom, the Sarnia, Ont., native has been named to the Dean’s Honour Roll and has achieved Academic All-Canadian status each of his first four years on the Guelph campus. In 2011, he held an 84.6 per cent academic average while majoring in biomedical sciences and won the University’s President’s Award for excellence in the classroom and on the field. He graduated with distinction in April of 2012 and is currently completing a minor in neuroscience. He has already been accepted to Western University’s medical school.

In addition, Androschuk plays an important role in many community circles. His life was forever changed six years ago when one of his closest friends was severely hurt when wrestling with him and unfortunately became a quadriplegic. They have remained very close while working together on an organization called It Happens. They have managed to take an unfortunate event and turn it into a positive contribution to touch the lives of others. Androschuk has also been instrumental in organizing the first “Guelph Wheels in Action”, a spinal cord injury fundraiser held at the University of Guelph. He has volunteered as a Brain Day Director, a nationwide outreach initiative where university students present to Grades 4-6 on brain and spinal cord anatomy. His other efforts include volunteering in the St. Joseph’s Hospital spinal rehabilitation unit, participating in the “Big Brothers Bowl for Kids’ Sake” fundraiser, and serving as a “Believe to Achieve” motivational speaker to high school students.

“Zach has a commitment to excellence both on the field and in the classroom that embodies the spirit and dedication of a student-athlete destined for great things,” said Guelph head coach Stu Lang. “He has shown tremendous leadership skills as well as an incredible maturity and self-awareness in recognizing the impact he can have not only as an athlete and teammate but also as an ambassador and champion within the community.”

Other nominees for the award were Matt Albright, Saint Mary’s (offensive tackle / science); David Haddrall, Bishop’s (receiver / natural sciences); and Brett Jones, Regina (guard / engineering & applied science)

ALL-TIME FRANK TINDALL TROPHY WINNERS (coach of the year)

2012 Stefan Ptaszek, McMaster
2011 Jeff Cummins, Acadia
2010 Glen Constantin, Laval
2009 Steve Sumarah, Saint Mary’s
2008 Pat Sheahan, Queen’s
2007 Frank McCrystal, Regina
2006 Denis Piché, Ottawa
2005 Glen Constantin, Laval
2004 Jerry Friesen, Alberta
2003 Gary Jeffries, Wilfrid Laurier
2002 Chuck McMann, McGill
2001 Brian Dobie, Manitoba
2000 Greg Marshall, McMaster
1999 Blake Nill, Saint Mary’s
1998 Larry Haylor, Western
1997 John Stevens, StFX
1996 Dan McNally, Guelph
1995 Rick Zmich, Wilfrid Laurier
1994 Brian Towriss, Saskatchewan
1993 Larry Uteck, Saint Mary’s
1992 Ian Breck, Bishop’s
1991 Rich Newbrough, Wilfrid Laurier
1990 Larry Haylor, Western
1989 Dave Knight, Waterloo
1988 Larry Uteck, Saint Mary’s
1987 Frank Smith, UBC
1986 Bruce Coulter, Bishop’s
1985 Peter Connellan, Calgary
1984 Steve Bruno, Mount Allison
1983 Doug Hargreaves, Queen’s
1982 Bernie Custis, McMaster
1981 John Huard, Acadia
1980 Cam Innes, Ottawa
1979 Dave “Tuffy” Knight, Wilfrid Laurier
1978 Frank Smith, UBC
1977 Peter Connellan, Calgary
1976 Darwin Semotiuk, Western
1975 Don Gilbert, Ottawa
1974 Ron Murphy, Toronto
1973 Ed Hilton, UPEI
1972 Dave “Tuffy” Knight, Wilfrid Laurier
1971 Jim Donlevy, Alberta
1970 Frank Cosentino, Western
1969 Henry Janzen, Manitoba

ALL-TIME RUSS JACKSON AWARD WINNERS (outstanding student-athlete & citizenship)

2012 Zach Androschuk, Guelph
2011 Dillon Heap, Wilfrid Laurier
2010 Thomas Hall, Manitoba
2009 Thomas Hall, Manitoba
2008 David Hamilton, Toronto
2007 Clovis Langlois-Boucher, Sherbrooke
2006 Naim El-Far, Ottawa
2005 Dan Parker, Mount Allison
2004 Nathan Beveridge, UBC
2003 Curt McLellan, Queen’s
2002 Lincoln Blumell, Calgary
2001 Josh Alexander, Wilfrid Laurier
2000 Carlo Panaro, Alberta
1999 Carlo Panaro, Alberta
1998 Jean-Philippe Darche, McGill
1997 Sam Stetsko, Alberta
1996 Sean O’Neill, Carleton
1995 Ted MacLean, Saint Mary’s
1994 Steve Papp, McGill
1993 David Sykes, Saint Mary’s
1992 David Sykes, Saint Mary’s
1991 J.P. Veri, McGill
1990 J.P. Veri, McGill
1989 Jock Climie, Queen’s
1988 Andrew Allison, Mount Allison
1987 Elio Geremia, Calgary
1986 Charlie Galunic, Queen’s