Orlondo Steinauer wins Coach of the Year

CALGARY — Patience has finally paid off for Orlondo Steinauer and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

After a decade long wait to become a Canadian Football League head coach, Steinauer rewarded the Ticats this season with a franchise best 15 wins and the team’s first trip to the Grey Cup since 2014.

On Thursday, at the Shaw CFL Awards at Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome, Steinauer was presented the Annis Stukus Award as the league’s Coach of the Year for 2019.

Steinauer paid his dues as an assistant for nine years, becoming one of the league’s top coaching prospects following a prolific playing career. He quickly proved he was the perfect man for the job, leading the Ticats to their best season ever despite losing starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli to injury six weeks into the season.

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The Ticats will take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 107th Grey Cup presented by Shaw on Sunday, as they look to cap off a franchise-best 15-win season, easily surpassing the previous mark of 12 while tying the all-time record for wins by a first-year head coach.

In addition to boasting a perfect 9-0 regular season record at Tim Hortons Field, the Tiger-Cats led the CFL in points scored (551), net offence (395.8 yards per game) and passing yards (313.3 yards per game) as the team captured its first East Division crown since 2014.

Steinauer becomes the seventh Tiger-Cat to win the award following Greg Marshall (2004), Ron Lancaster (1998), Al Bruno (1989), Bob Shaw (1976), Ralph Sazio (1964) and Jim Trimble (1961).

Saskatchewan Roughriders coach Craig Dickenson is the runner up after leading the Riders to their first West Division title since 2009.