Maksymic joins Ottawa coaching staff
Bellerose Bulldogs' product is the CFL expansion team's offensive assistant
Wednesday, Jan 01, 2014 06:00 am
Jordan Maksymic ran with the ball when the Ottawa RedBlacks presented the former Bellerose Bulldog a coaching position with the expansion Canadian Football League team.
“It’s a very unique opportunity to be a part of the first season in Ottawa. I don’t know how different it’s going to be but it’s exciting,” said Maksymic, who spent the past three years with the Edmonton Eskimos before breaking into the CFL with the Calgary Stampeders.
Maksymic, 26, will serve as the offensive assistant under head coach Rick Campbell, a member of the Eskimos’ coaching staff for several seasons who also helped coach the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and most recently the Stampeders the last two years as defensive coordinator.
“Rick and I worked together in Edmonton in 2011 and we stayed in touch the last couple of years while he was down in Calgary. When he got the job, it was just through some phone conversations I found out there was an opportunity there. I let him know I was very interested in joining him in Ottawa and it all worked out,” Maksymic said.
The road to Ottawa started at Bellerose Composite High School, where Maksymic – the team's quarterback and MVP in Grade 12 after playing his first down of football the year before as a receiver and backup QB – took over the offensive coordinator’s duties for the junior Bulldogs midway through the 2005 season during the rebirth of the Bellerose junior program. The Bulldogs advanced to the metro Edmonton final, only to lose 29-9 to the St. Albert Hawks.
After his second junior season at Bellerose, former St. Albert resident and CFL head coach Tom Higgins gave Maksymic a job as the water boy at the Stampeders' training camp. It was there Maksymic decided to become a fulltime career coach, and got his foot in the door working in the team’s video department for two years.
Maksymic joined the Eskimos after two years as a graduate assistant at Northern Arizona University. His role with the Eskimos at the beginning was basically the same as at NAU as video coordinator.
After the first year as the Eskimos’ video assistant, Maksymic split the 2012 season as video coordinator and offensive assistant before his promotion to offensive assistant last year.
“I kind of feel like I’ve woken up on third base a little bit,” Maksymic said of his rapid rise in the coaching ranks. “I’ve been given so many great opportunities and I’ve learned from a lot of great people along the way. Rick is one of those awesome people that I’ve worked with and I’m very happy he’s given me this opportunity.”
It will be more hands-on coaching for Maksymic in Ottawa.
“There will be absolutely no video. That was the opportunity I had to jump at. It’s a fulltime coaching deal.”
Maksymic will work closely with offensive coordinator Mike Gibson, who will also oversee the offensive line, and Don Yanowsky, the special teams’ coordinator and running backs’ coach.
“My job as the offensive assistant is to assist those guys. They will have duties far and above just their position duties and when they’re off attending to those I’ll be helping out with the offensive line and running back positions.”
The coaching staff will huddle up in the nation’s capital at the beginning of February in preparation for the RedBlack’s CFL debut.
“We’re going to get together as an offensive staff and it’s a good group of guys. We’re new working together but everybody has got some experience in this league. I don’t think there will be too much rust to shake off,” Maksymic said. “Coach Gibson, the coordinator, will bring in his playbook and we’ll hit the ground running with that. He’ll teach us what he wants to do and we’ll get familiar with that playbook and then we’ll get going.”
Maksymic was allowed to move on after the Eskimos fired head coach Kavis Reed following a disappointing 4-14 campaign.
“At the end of the year (the coaches) had our discussions with Ed (Hervey, the general manager) and when I talked with Ed it was that I would still have my same role in Edmonton if that’s what I wanted but that included some of the video stuff that I wanted to separate myself from,” Maksymic said. “This job in Ottawa is a fulltime time coaching gig so when this opportunity came Ed was happy for me. He was receptive of the opportunity and let me move on.”
Maksymic found a silver lining in one of the worst seasons in Eskimos’ history.
“Obviously four wins out of 18 wasn’t fun but in this business you have to learn from everything and that was the attitude I took. There were more downs than ups but myself personally being a young coach I learned from everything and I took notes on everything and I grew a lot personally,” he said. “As a team we didn’t get the success obviously that we wanted to but I didn’t walk away from the season feeling that it was a complete loss because I learnt a lot of stuff. I also think we got better and we were a few little things away from a few more wins.”