A perfect season for the McMaster Marauders has propelled Stefan Ptaszek to the top of the Canadian university football coaching ranks.
Ptaszek was named CIS coach of the year Wednesday night at the All-Canadian Awards Banquet.
"There's so many people that I respect, and so many programs that I look up to, that have been acknowledged this way, to be acknowledged is humbling and flattering and overwhelming," said Ptaszek. "We got a big game on Friday [the Vanier Cup against the Laval Rouge et Or] so we'll enjoy it for about five seconds here and once the season's done we'll soak it in."
He joins Greg Marshall (2000) and Bernie Custis (1982) as the only McMaster head coaches to win the Frank Tindall Trophy.
Jeff Cummins of the Acadia Axemen, Laval's Glen Constantin and Blake Nill of the Calgary Dinos were the other finalists in 2012.
The other individual award handed out Wednesday saw Zach Androschuk of the Guelph Gryphons receive the Russ Jackson Award recognizing excellence in football, academics and citizenship. The CIS also announced its first- and second-team all-stars.
More CIS hardware will be handed out Thursday night at the Gibson's Finest CFL Player Awards, including the Hec Crighton Trophy (outstanding player of the year), Presidents' Trophy (defensive MVP), J.P. Metras Trophy (outstanding lineman) and Peter Gorman Trophy (rookie of the year).
In his seventh campaign with the Marauders, the 41-year-old Ptaszek guided his team to the program's first 8-0 regular season since 2003.
The Marauders are on a CIS record 21-game winning streak heading into Friday's Vanier Cup against the Laval Rouge et Or. McMaster beat Laval 41-38 in last year's final for the program's first national title.
"All my seniors, not even being a little bit complacent after winning in 2011, is why the 2012 season has gone so well," said Ptaszek. "They have been grounded and pushed. They say 'complacency is the disease of the successful' and I was ready to yell at them at any opportunity and I didn't have to say a word.
"They're a driven and motivated group."
Jeff Giles, McMaster's director of athletics and recreation, gave credit to Pstaszek for the Marauders' ongoing success.
"There is no doubt that the heart and soul of McMaster Marauder football is Stefan Ptaszek," said Giles. "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."
The Marauders resumed their domination of conference play in 2012, leading the OUA 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).
Ptaszek, who has led the Marauders to the post-season in each of his seven seasons, heads into Friday's game 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, Ont., Ptaszek was a star receiver at Wilfrid Laurier from 1990 to 1994, 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 the B.C. Lions, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts, Ptaszek started his coaching career at the high school level before returning to the CIS as UBC's special teams co-ordinator. He then joined Wilfrid Laurier and helped guide the Golden Hawks to the 2005 Vanier Cup title in his third and final season as offensive co-ordinator.
Androschuk is the first member of the Gryphons to receive the Russ Jackson Award since its inception in 1986.
The six-foot-one, 195-pound defensive back is a two-year captain of the special teams unit and a four-year starter. In his fifth and final season, Androschuk 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 the 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 President's Award for excellence in the classroom and on the field.
Androschuk, who graduated with distinction in April 2012 and is currently completing a minor in neuroscience, has already been accepted to Western's medical school.
His life was forever changed six years ago when one of his closest friends was injured and became a quadriplegic after the two were wrestling. The pair have remained close while working together on an organization called "It Happens."
Androschuk has also been instrumental in organizing the first "Guelph Wheels in Action," a spinal cord injury fundraiser at the university and has given his time to a number of other worth causes.
"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," Guelph head coach Stu Lang said. "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."
The other nominees were Saint Mary's Huskies offensive lineman Matt Albright, Bishop's Gaiters receiver David Haddrall and Regina Rams offensive lineman Brett Jones.