Enjoying 21 years of tutoring linebackers and developing into McMaster’s leading recruiter, Frank Gesztesi has decided to call an end to his coaching career.
The McMaster Marauders announced the retirement of Gesztesi, whose impressive coaching resume spanned several programs and more than four decades, Tuesday.
“The decision to retire was not made lightly, and it is one made with a heavy heart,” said Gesztesi. “However, at this point in time, I believe it is the right one.”
“I want to thank all of the players I have been involved with. They have kept me young and have made me a better person. I also have had the pleasure of working with some of the most talented coaches in the country, and for that, I will be forever grateful.”
“More than anything, I want to thank my wife Dianne and daughter Melissa for their complete, undying support through 41 years. They are the light of my life, and only they know just how much time has been devoted to coaching over the years.”
“Frank has been a huge part of McMaster football’s success on and off the field for 20-plus years,” said Marauders head coach Greg Knox.
“The positive influence he has had on Marauders football and the countless student-athletes whose lives he has touched is second to none, and I know that I speak on behalf of coaches past and present in saying that we love Frankie and are better for having him in our lives.”
“We’ll miss him.”
Beginning his coaching career at Hamilton’s Barton Secondary School, which he guided to four Division I city championships, Gesztesi took his first steps on the Marauders sideline in 1991 and returned in 1993, before joining the staff of St. Francis Xavier University in 1995.
Coaching linebackers and recruiting Southern Ontario for St. FX, Gesztesi was a member of the coaching staff during the X Men run to the Vanier Cup in 1996.
He returned to McMaster with the arrival of Greg Marshall as head coach in 1997, and embarked on a two-decade-long journey with the Marauders that included seven Yates Cup championships, three Vanier Cup appearances and, in 2001, the receipt of the Gino Fracas Award as the CIS Volunteer Coach of the Year and the McMaster Athletics Friends of Distinction Award.
Several of Gesteszi’s linebacking pupils have enjoyed successful careers in the Canadian Football League, including long-time Toronto Argonaut and Hamilton Tiger-Cat Ray Mariuz, Mike Botterill, CFL record-holder Jason Arakgi, Jason Pottinger and current Tiger-Cat Nick Shortill.
He took particular pride in his role as a recruiter, and the relationships he cultivated with players before they donned maroon and long after they graduated from McMaster.
“Getting to know the student-athletes and being a very small part of their transition to adulthood was beyond satisfying,” said Gesztesi. “Recruiting does not have a season. It is a year long commitment, but one I gladly undertook.”
Thankful for the support of his previous head coaches Marshall, Marcello Campanaro and Stefan Ptaszek, Gesteszi believes firmly in the group he leaves at McMaster.
“I look forward to seeing the Marauders play in the Vanier Cup in the near future,” he said. “Under Greg Knox, the program is in great hands.”
“I leave with nothing but love in my heart for all things maroon.”