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Player-Coach Relationships Is What Coaching Football Is All About For Tiger-Cats OC Tommy Condell

Tommy Condell | Offensive Coordinator | Hamilton Tiger-Cats

To forge special relationships with some of the players is why we get into coaching in the first place. Both are diligent people that want the team to have success.

Tommy Condell

Offensive Coordinator

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

× The interview with Tommy Condell was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

You have coached with many different teams across the NCAA and in the CFL and have coached every offensive position during your career so far. This also means that there is a great variety of players you have worked with. Being known as a player oriented coach, what are the most important things you try to do for your players either on or off the field knowing that there is not always a guaranteed amount of time with them?

We begin with getting to know his strengths and where we can assist his learning pathway. This is done by an assessment that is formal and informal.

Through this diagnosis, we match the type of learner each individual naturally wants to be exposed to. Harnessed with this information, we teach in that way i.e. kinaesthetic, auditory, and visual.

This can be expressed with different mediums during and after meetings and practices. With numerous teaching technologies and communications that are assessable nowadays, we can send various components of the game plan in a way he prefers to digest it.

For me, the definition that encompasses a “player-oriented coach” is simply that we take an active interest in that player as a person first.

We understand that through the process of becoming a better man, we win. Reciprocally, through the process of winning, we become better men.

Our “process” which includes our philosophy, standards and values assists in this growth as a man individually and collectively as a team.

You are in your second time coaching with the Tiger-Cats having previously been with the team from 2013-2015. What have you enjoyed the most about returning and what have you enjoyed so far as being a member of Coach Orlondo Steinauer’s staff?

Being able to return to a quality organization that cares about people and winning.

Our owner Bob Young and CEO Scott Mitchell grant us the resources and the means to compete for championships year in and year out.

The ability to be a part of Coach Steinauer’s vision and culture was easy!

He has high personal character and our philosophical approaches to winning football games are aligned. The chance to be in an environment that values individuality under the team construct was appealing.

Moreover, this atmosphere of competition with oneself and others challenges you to be greater than the day before. It was too great to pass up!

I’m extremely grateful and humbled to come to work with Coach O and the rest of the quality staff that he has assembled.

You’ve had the opportunity to coach Luke Tasker when he was at Cornell and also twice in Hamilton during both your times with the Tiger-Cats. You also have the opportunity to coach DeVier Posey again after you two won the Grey Cup with Toronto in 2017. What is so special about being able to coach players on multiple teams and talk about why both these relationships are important to you?

To forge special relationships with some of the players is why we get into coaching in the first place.

Both are diligent people that want the team to have success. Everyone sees the tangible things that they bring to the team by their own individual successes experienced on the field.

However, most fans do not see the intangible things that they bring daily to their respective profession, the attention to detail, the daily contagious positive energy, and the mentorship of other players.

It’s one thing to challenge and increase yourself daily but true greatness is shown when you make others around you better and more responsible. Both of these men do that in their own distinct way.

To watch how both have grown and evolved as men, husbands and now fathers is a tremendous honour to watch and hopefully, we have had a part in that development.

With the Tiger-Cats in 2019, several key players on the team suffered season ending injuries including starting QB Jeremiah Masoli. Despite this, Dane Evans stepped in and played very well leading the team to a franchise best 15-3 record. How do you as a coach prepare your players to fulfill the mantra “next man up”?

That starts with Coach O’s culture and ethos.

We try to coach everyone daily with the same enthusiasm and expectations.

This, in turn, validates that everyone is important and we are counting on you every minute and every day – no matter where you sit on the depth chart.

Roles will change and opportunities will come but we must be ready when fate knocks at the proverbial door.

You have been to the Grey Cup with Hamilton three times in 2013, 2014 and 2019 but have not yet won one. How do you handle defeat at that level as a coach personally and with your players? What are the bright spots that come out of being in that situation, if any?

Defeat is a part of our business – I certainly don’t like it! – But it’s the reality.

We must take each experience and evaluate it, dissect it, and see where mistakes could have been avoided or opportunities could be exploited.

Only after critically examining and gaining feedback can you utilize that information for fuel and advancement. These steps must be accomplished no matter what the outcome of the individual game was.

By handling victories and defeats just the same can propel you and your team back for another opportunity to win!

Matias Bueno Matias's Final Thoughts

It was tremendous to have the opportunity to speak with Hamilton Tiger-Cats Offensive Coordinator Tommy Condell. He is a man of great character and it shows in the success he has had in his coaching career. What the Tiger-Cat organization has been able to do in the last year has set them up for long term success with their coaching young and strong coaching staff remaining in place. His reputation as a player’s coach shows in the strong bonds he has formed with players he has coached for many years and some for only a few. Tommy Condell is a great role model for young coaches looking to become great in the realm of football.  

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