Northern Showcase Evaluators / Coaches
Blake Nill, Head Coach - UBC Football
Blake Nill is synonymous with success when it comes to U SPORTS football. Already one of the most decorated coaches in the country after brilliant stints at Saint Mary’s and Calgary, Nill made history with the UBC Thunderbirds in 2015 winning the Vanier Cup, his first with the program. Coach Nill is currently entering his 5th season as Head Coach of the UBC Thunderbirds. Coach Nill led his T-birds to victory in the Vanier Cup in his very first season at UBC. He has led his teams to 8 National Championship games and 17 conference championship games in his 27 years as a Head Coach. Coach Nill has also won eleven Bowl Games and three National Championships.
Tom Denison - Offensive Coordinator - U of T
Denison was a catalyst for getting the Gaels back on the rails in the early 2000s while winning the Hec Crighton Trophy twice. At the time he was setting school, OUA and CIS passing records, though, Denison was also labouring to break into the CFL as a Canadian quarterback. The member of the 2015 Queen's Football Hall of Fame induction class got farther than most do, making the Calgary Stampeders dress roster in 2004 in between stints with Winnipeg and Toronto. As an Offensive Coordinator Tom helped rebuild the St. Mary's Huskies offense in 2017 and is currently in his 1st season as OC with the University of Toronto Varsity Blues Football Program.
Warren Craney - Head Coach York University
Warren Craney joined the Lions football team as head coach in 2010 and is the ninth coach in program history.
Craney made a name for himself on the international scene and was on the Team Canada coaching staff from 2009-16. As head coach, he led the junior national team to the gold medal at the 2016 International Federation of American Football (IFAF) U19 world championships in Harbin, China, with a dominant 24-6 victory over the United States in the final. The event marked the second straight time he was the head coach of the junior national team as he also guided the squad to a silver-medal finish in 2014 in Kuwait.
Paul Orazietti, Former, Usport Assistant Head Coach, Current Sault College Manager of Athletics.
Coach Orazietti coached 10 seasons with the UBC Thunderbirds serving as Offensive and Special Teams Coordinator. He won his 1st Vanier Cup as part of the UBC Varsity Team in 1997 and 2nd Vanier Cup as Associate Head Coach of UBC in 2015. From 2011 - 2016 UBC boasted the top statistical Special Teams in the Canada West Conference. Orazietti was selected to be an assistant coach for Football Canada's U-19 National team that won gold in Harbin China at the 2016 World Football Championships. He has been a guest coach in the CFL on several occassions with both the Calgary Stampeders and the BC Lions. Prior to coaching at UBC, Coach Orazietti was the Head Coach of the Victoria Rebels of the CJFL for five seasons.
Chris Bertoia - Head Coach University of Waterloo
Chris Bertoia enters his 4th season as Head Coach of the Waterloo Warriors after a tremendous 2017 campaign that saw the Warriors start 4-0 for the first time since 1998 and earn a national ranking of 9th. For the incredible turnaround season, Bertoia was named the 2017 OUA Coach of the Year. A graduate of the University of Waterloo, where he majored in Sociology with a minor in Legal Studies, Bertoia was a four-year starter for the Warriors football team, earning OUA all-star honours as an offensive tackle. Bertoia played in four consecutive Yates Cup Championships, winning the Yates Cup twice in 1997 and 1999.
Jean - Paul Circelli - Head Coach - University of Windsor
Jean-Paul Circelli is entering his first year as the head coach of the Lancer Football program. Coach Circelli is just the fifth coach in the Lancers 50-year history.
For the past four years, the London, ON native has served as the offensive line coach of the Western Mustangs, where they have been among the national leaders in scoring, rushing and total yards. He has helped 15 Mustang offensive linemen become OUA conference all-stars and seven of those players were also recognized as U SPORTS All-Canadians.
During his time coaching at Western, the Mustangs captured two straight Yates Cup OUA championships, made back-to-back Vanier Cup appearances, and won the Vanier Cup title in 2017.
Ryan Bechmanis -Defensive Coordinator - Queen's University
Ryan Bechmanis makes his return to the Gaels in 2018 as the new assistant coach and defensive coordinator.
Bechmanis is a former Gael himself, playing five years for the Tricolour from 2001 to 2005, after which he joined the coaching staff and served as coach of the defensive backs before adding special teams coordinator to his title.
His tenure included the Vanier Cup campaign of 2009. He left Queen's after the 2011 season to join the Carleton Ravens as their defensive coordinator, and returns to fill the same role at Queen's. For seven years, Bechmanis had been instrumental in helping to build the Carleton Ravens program from the ground up into a nationally-ranked contender.
Jason Riley - McMaster O-line coach
Canadian football offensive lineman.
Riley played college football at the University of British Columbia. Riley played eleven seasons in the Canadian Football League for three different teams. He was named CFL All-Star in 1989, and was a part of a Grey Cup championship team with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1986. He also won the award for the Ticats Most Outstanding linesman in 1989 and 1992. He retired from the CFL in 1993.
After his retirement Riley taught at Notre Dame High School in Burlington, Ontario.Riley has coached offensive line at McMaster University for 18 yrs