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January 21, 2019

A NEW DIRECTION

The Calgary Rage women’s football team has their new head coach.

Well, head coaches, that is.

They’ll move forward with former CFL players Wes Lysack and Keith Crawford at the helm.

Lysack played parts of eight seasons with the Stampeders, winning the 2008 Grey Cup. And Crawford spent time with the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger Cats during his tenure in the league.

“I would like to thank everyone on the Calgary Rage board in the process of hiring a new head coach for our tenth season,” said Calgary Rage president Tatrina Medvescek. “When we first interviewed Wes and Keith, their professionalism, passion and knowledge of the game really stood out to this board the most and we really wanted them to be a part of this team.

“We had the pleasure of working with both of these coaches last season as they worked as positional coaches. Their dedication, leadership and patience with our team was evident.

“We’re so fortunate to have two former professional players wanting to share their experience and knowledge of the game with us.”

Calgary is one of eight teams in the Western Women’s Canadian Football League and are coming off of an undefeated season that saw them come away as Western Conference Champions.

Entering their second season on the Rage sidelines, the two coaches are excited for the journey ahead.

“To come to the Rage and be a part of it with Wes, it’s a dream come true,” said Crawford. “The professionalism that hopefully we’ll bring to the game and the change of philosophy we’re going to use with the Rage is something we’re excited about. We’re excited about what the Rage has in store this year and we’re excited about the direction we’re going.”

Unlike many coaches, these two came to the Rage with their exit strategy firmly in place.

Lysack and Crawford plan to develop female coaches to eventually take the reins and coach the team.

In order for the league and the game of football grow, there needs to be more women as coaches.

“Truthfully, we took the job to work our way out of coaching jobs,” chuckled Crawford.

“That was our idea and I’ll take credit for it because I’m proud of it,” added Lysack. “It’s the WOMEN’s tackle football league and this is the Calgary Rage WOMEN’s team, so why should it not be run by women?

“There’s a huge group of incredibly passionate women that are a part of this organization anyways, so I’m here to help give them direction and mentorship. If they bring their passion, they’ll be running the whole thing someday.

“At some point we’ll have women as offensive and defensive coordinator and then one will eventually become head coach. I’ll be happy as can be to leave and see an all-women staff winning national championships.”

For Lysack, having been a Stampeder and understanding the value of the game of football, he’s excited to continue to help nurture it here in our city.

“I think there’s a small percentage of the population that has the opportunity to be a part of football,” said Lysack. “I firmly believe that it’s the greatest game there is and these women are part of that.

“I was part of that and now I continue to be a part of it, so why wouldn’t I want to give back? Especially in the city that gave so much to me. I bleed Stampeder football and I love this city, so when there was a chance to give back to the local football world here, why not do it?”

Coaching a women’s team is a great opportunity for Lysack and Crawford, but it doesn’t come without a learning curve.

The two found out last year that they can’t simply coach the same way they’ve done in the past.

“I’ve coached all boys before, but with women, it’s different,” admitted Lysack. “If you tell a teenage boy to run a drill, he’ll go run it. If you ask a woman to do the same thing, they’ll ask you why. It really makes you analyze and break down why you’re preaching what you’re preaching.

“It was an eye opener last season, there was an emotional level to it. I honestly think it’s made me a better coach.”

For any women looking to play football with the Calgary Rage, check out www.calgaryrage.com for all of the information!