The Vancouver Sun - Lions’ Grey Cup coach Steve Buratto joins UBC Thunderbirds staff

VANCOUVER — This year, which marks the 45th anniversary of the death of immortal Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, is a reminder of how long Steve Buratto has endured in the game of football.

Buratto, who tried to impress the "Old Man" when he twice tried out for the Packers as a centre in 1966-1967, is taking more than 40 years of coaching experience to his next stop, at the University of B.C.

Thunderbirds head coach Blake Nill announced Tuesday that the 71-year-old Buratto will become the program's offensive coordinator and associate head coach for the 2015 season.

An Idaho graduate, Buratto last worked in the Vancouver area more than 10 years ago as offensive coordinator (2003-2004) for the B.C. Lions under head coach Wally Buono. Previous to that, Buratto was head coach of the Lions for their fourth Grey Cup triumph in 2000, when he took over from Greg Mohns in midseason and coaxed an 8-10 team to upset wins over the Edmonton Eskimos, Calgary Stampeders and Montreal Alouettes in the post-season that year.

"In terms of understanding the game there is no one who is able to adapt and teach quite like Steve," Nill said in a news release. "He is an outstanding communicator, whose biggest strength is the ability to teach athletes at this stage of their career."

Buratto was the offensive line coach last season for the University of Calgary Dinos and took over as the school's interim head coach when Nill was appointed UBC's head coach on Dec. 9.

His resume in the Canadian Football League includes stints as head coach (Calgary, B.C.) and offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, offensive line and receivers coach with the Lions, Stampeders, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Toronto Argonauts, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Baltimore Stallions.

Buratto began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Idaho, with later stops at Boise State and Nevada-Las Vegas before he came north to coach with the Roughriders in 1980. His career has now come full circle.

"Steve's approach with university athletes is very efficient, they just gravitate to him and he will make a big difference in changing the culture here at UBC," Nill said.

By Mike Beamish, Vancouver Sun

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

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