Football

Marauders go into the past to move forward


Joe Sardo returns to the Marauders, making the defensive transition less complicated. (Photo: McMaster Athletics)

Joe Sardo returns to the Marauders, making the defensive transition less complicated. (Photo: McMaster Athletics)

The McMaster football program is reaching into the recent past to fill its vacant defensive coordinator post with the announcement Tuesday (Jan. 27) that Joe Sardo has agreed to assume the position, which he will share with longtime defensive backs coach Mark Forsyth.

“Marauder football is thrilled to welcome Joe Sardo back to the coaching ranks at McMaster,” said head coach Stefan Ptaszek. “My entire staff recognizes the wealth of knowledge, people skills, and coaching talent this hire represents for our program.

“We are all excited to work with Joe and are extremely confident in his ability to help grow our program.”

Sardo replaces Greg Knox, who stepped aside for a position in the Canadian Football League.

Sardo previously served as the Marauders defensive coordinator for seven seasons (1999-2005) and was on the sideline during McMaster’s run of four consecutive Yates Cup championships. He stepped away from the Marauders after the 2005 season to spend more time with his growing family, while also handling career demands as a vice-president at RBC Dominion Securities Inc.

A graduate of the University of Hawaii, Sardo was drafted by the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1992 and spent four years in the CFL with Ottawa and Toronto Argonauts. During his hiatus from the McMaster sideline, Sardo remained involved in football as a defensive assistant and Canadian scout with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, before becoming director of football operations for the Hamilton Football Association.

“I’m very excited about this opportunity to come back to McMaster and work with Coach Ptaszek,” said Sardo, who is a Hamilton native. “Returning to a defensive staff where each member has dedicated over 20 years of finding ways to get an edge on their opponents provides a great opportunity, as well as stability for our current and future Marauders.”

“I look forward to contributing and maintaining the high standard that McMaster expects from our student-athletes, as we look to add to recent successes.”

During each of McMaster’s four championship seasons from 2000 to 2003, the Marauder defense under Sardo, allowed the fewest points in Ontario University Athletics.

There will be a high level of familiarity for Sardo on the McMaster staff, as he reunites with several Marauders assistants that were in place during his first phase in Maroon. These include: defensive co-coordinator and defensive backs coach Forsyth; defensive line coach Carm Genovese; and linebacker coach Frank Gesztesi. To assist Forsyth in coaching the defensive backfield, special teams coordinator Rob Underhill has taken on expanded duties and will also help coach the Marauder secondary.

Ptaszek is confident that the McMaster defense will not skip a beat, as the team looks at defending its 2014 Yates Cup title, adding, “Joe Sardo returns with outstanding working relationships already in place and he is the ideal candidate to coordinate this team of talented coaches.”

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