Steinauer named Toronto Argonauts' defensive coordinator
Aug. 5, 2011
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -
Western Washington University football standout Orlondo Steinauer has been named defensive coordinator of the Toronto Argonauts, a member of the Canadian Football League.
Steinauer, who played for the Argos from 2001 to 2008, is being promoted from his position as the team's secondary coach.
"I feel Orlondo is ready for this position as he brings an in-depth knowledge of the Argo defense and his experience as a player, as well as the past year and a half as an assistant coach, will help him transition smoothly into this expanded role," said Argonauts coach and general manager Jim Barker.
Steinauer, 38, had a 13-year CFL career during which he made 20 interceptions. Toronto hired him as its defensive backs coach in 2010.
Steinauer is in his second season on the Argonauts coaching staff. In 2010, his first year as a full-time coach, Steinauer directed a talented group of defensive backs which saw two of its starters, Willie Pile and Lin-J Shell, named CFL East All-Stars.
As a player, Steinauer was among the most respected in the locker room. As a team captain, coaching seemed to the come naturally to the CFL veteran who spent his final eight seasons with the Argos. He is a two-time Grey Cup champion (1999 & 2004) who was originally introduced to the CFL by the legendary coach and executive Leo Cahill.
Steinauer started his career with the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1996 then signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1997-2000) and finished with the Toronto Argonauts (2001-2008).
A four-time CFL All-Star and a six-time East Division All-Star, Steinauer is one of only a few players in the history of the game to win all-star accolades at three different positions (CB, DB, DS). He is second in CFL history with 1,178 interception return yards and his 441 defensive tackles are the fifth-highest total in team history. His 710 interception return yards as an Argo are good for third-best in club history.
A veteran of 181 regular season CFL games, Steinauer also played in 13 playoff games and in three Grey Cup contests. In 2007, he was named runner-up as an All-Time Argo at safety.
Steinauer coached for the first time when he returned to his alma mater, Western Washington University, during CFL off-seasons from 1996 to 1998. There, he served as the Vikings' defensive backs coach.
As a senior at WWU, Steinauer was named an All-American and led the nation with 10 interceptions.
Upon retiring from football as a player, the Seattle, Washington native turned his focus toward running his foundation, The Ozone, which helps improve the quality of life for those less fortunate, with an emphasis on single parents and their families.
In 2009, Steinauer was the CFL Insider on Rogers Sportsnet.
Orlondo is married to the former Gina Sampson, who earned All-America honors in women's basketball at WWU and is a member of the school's Athletic Hall of Fame. They have three daughters; Kiana (12), Rheyna (6) and Taeya (5).
Argonauts cut ties with defensive co-ordinator Garber
RACHEL BRADY, Toronto Globe and Mail
Jim Barker didn't sleep much Thursday night, awake reviewing what's wrong with his 1-5 Toronto Argonauts, contemplating a major change, one he had been carefully considering for a while.
On Friday morning, the Argos head coach and general manager fired second-year defensive co-ordinator Chip Garber and promoted defensive backs coach Orlondo Steinauer to take over the position.
More related to this storyCalvillo sets all-time completions record in Alouettes victory "We built this team around defence," Barker said. "We dress 19 Americans, and 14 of them are defensive players. We have to play at a higher level, and throughout the season, I haven't seen the progress I was hoping to see.
"I brought [Garber] in in a tough situation. I wanted to run the Argo defence, which was foreign to him. He learned it, he's a pro, and he did the best he could, but I haven't seen that next step."
Garber has coached for 30 years - 27 of them in the U.S. college ranks, before working for the NFL's Washington Redskins and CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats. His 2010 Argos defence gave up the fewest points in the league and had four players named East Division all-stars. It was his first season as a co-ordinator with a pro team.
At camp in June, Barker spoke many times about how excited he was with the defence, particularly through heated positional battles. But after five consecutive losses, the head coach said he hasn't seen the defence improve.
"During training camp, it seemed pretty good, but as the season has progressed, there are certain areas where we've regressed," he said.
While Barker said the move wasn't based solely on Thursday's 36-23 loss to the Montreal Alouettes, the defence did allow quarterback Anthony Calvillo to complete 30 of 36 passes for 349 yards and a touchdown, while the Als also ran for 172 yards.
Steinauer is also in his second year as a coach in the CFL after coaching defensive backs at his alma mater, Western Washington University. He played as a safety in the CFL from 1996 to 2008, eight of those seasons with the Argos. He won Grey Cups in 1999 and 2004.
While Barker says the team's defensive system is not being totally overhauled. Steinauer will continue to as secondary coach as well, and will likely take a new approach to game-planning.
"Everything falls on my shoulders now," Steinauer said. "I have to lead these men to get the most out of themselves - bigger than that - more than they have given so far.
"I'm ready to go. I envisioned this day would come under different circumstances for me, but it didn't happen that way."
Barker thought Steinauer was special when he first hired him before the 2010 season.
"When I started the interview process, I said, `This guy is going to be a head coach in this league and certainly a co-ordinator soon,' " Barker said. "I just didn't think it was fair to him to make him a co-ordinator in his first-ever coaching position.
"I wanted him to learn and grow and be an assistant."
As a player, Steinauer worked with co-ordinators Joe Moss with the Ottawa Rough Riders, Don Sutherin with the Ticats, and Gary Etcheverry and Rich Stubler with the Argos, and says each influenced the way he sees defences.
When Barker addressed the team Friday with the news of the coaching change, he asked them all to look within themselves to make improvements rather than consider Garber the scapegoat.
"We aren't going to be this kind of football team," Barker said of the message he is trying to portray to his team. "We're a year and a half into a rebuild, and I hope these are the right guys. I'm going to do what I have to do to get this organization to the top of the CFL."
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