Stirling native, Centennial Secondary School graduate and longtime OUA football coach, Pat Tracey, is the new defensive coordinator for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds — the defending Vanier Cup national champions.
Tracey accepted the position Monday. He had most recently coached with the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
"I'm thrilled to work with Blake Nill (Thunderbirds head coach) on a championship team full of incredible student-athletes,” said Tracey. “It's a great opportunity for me to get back into the CIS and for my family to explore the West Coast.”
Nill said the T-Birds were ecstatic to land Tracey.
"We believe Pat will bring us one step closer to the consistency we're attempting to attain here at UBC,” he said.
A former OUA All-Star defensive back at Guelph, Tracey was a key member of a Vanier Cup championship victory by the Gryphons in 1984. As a coach, with Queen's, he was also a Vanier Cup winner in 2009 on a Golden Gaels team that featured former Belleville Athlete of the Year, Jimmy Allin.
Prior to joining the CFL Bombers as special teams coordinator, Tracey was assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator for more than a decade at Queen's in Kingston, where he shared in a CIS-record 14 shutouts and 117 career wins with the Gaels. As defensive coordinator, Tracey posted 83 wins — a school record.
Graduating from Guelph with an ADA in business administration and a BA in history, Tracey wrapped up his playing career with the Gryphons as a five-year starter and was selected to the school's All-Decade Team for the 1980s. A co-captain, Tracey won the W.F. Mitchell Trophy as Most Sportsmanlike Player and still holds the Guelph record for most career games played (51).
Tracey stayed on at Guelph to begin a long and distinguished OUA coaching career, producing the top-ranked defence in the nation in 1992 and helping the Gryphons win the Yates Cup as Ontario champions that year, and again in 1996. Tracey left Guelph and Queen's as both schools' all-time winningest defensive coach.
Players recruited and mentored by Tracey during his OUA coaching career included 48 athletes who would go on to sign CFL contracts — 29 as draft picks; 19 as free agents.
Tracey has also been heavily involved with the Ontario provincial U17 football program and Canadian national amateur teams at world tournaments, where he coached defensive backs in 2011 in Austria (silver medal) and Florida in 2007 (gold medal). He was a guest coach and speaker at a European Football Association conference and clinic in Oslo, Norway in 2012.
UBC won the Vanier Cup last year with a nail-biting 26-23 victory over Montreal on Nov. 28 at Telus Stadium in Quebec City.
NEED TO KNOW: As a Chargers stalwart, Tracey played on four COSSA championship teams at Centennial — two junior, two senior.