Grey Cup coaches cut from same ex-quarterback cloth
Hufnagel, Milanovich both small-town Pennsylvania boys
They’re both fine, upstanding small-town Pennsylvania boys. One hailing from Butler (pop. 13,000), the other Coraopolis (5,600). Both are also retired members in good standing of the quarterbacks guild.
When asked if his high-school coach dad had ever shown the young Scott Milanovich film of John Hufnagel in his all his Nittany Lion pomp and circumstance, the Toronto Argonauts’ boss, seated next to his Stampeder peer at the annual coaches’ availability media conference Wednesday, admitted:
“I didn’t. I knew of him, obviously. From Penn State, right? And my dad was obviously aware. But I never saw coach Huff play.” Comedian’s pause. “I know he never saw me play.
“We were actually together for a bit. In Cleveland. I was released right before my contract became guaranteed. I can only guess how much coach Hufnagel must’ve thought of my abilities.
“I played as long as I could, and I was fortunate to be with some great coaches, like coach Hufnagel, coach (Tony) Dungy, coach (Jim) Barker so I could learn the coaching craft.”
“Scott had a lot of talent,” chimed in Hufnagel, “but not as good as Ricky Ray.
“The fact that we’re both quarterbacks and are now head coaches is not surprising. I think one of the guys on my staff, (ex-QB) Dave Dickenson, will be a fine head coach one of these days in the Canadian Football League. It is a passing league, you have to have a real good understanding of that.
“Usually, a quarterback does have a little bit of a head start in that area.”
Entering the room for the availability a half-hour earlier, the two man had posed for a photo op with the Grey Cup. Milanovich, out of tradition, refused to lay hands on the chalice they’ll be squabbling over come Sunday.
Hufnagel, to everyone’s surprise, didn’t shy away from a little fingerprinting session.
When asked why later, he replied with a wry grin:
“My name’s on it.”
Follow George Johnson on Twitter/GeorgejohnsonCH
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