Corey Mace: The New Face of the Roughriders Franchise

There won’t be a shortage of electricity inside Mosaic Stadium whenever Corey Mace is present.

On Friday, led by General Manager and Vice-President of Football Operations Jeremy O’Day, the Saskatchewan Roughriders officially introduced Mace as the team’s new head coach.

HC Corey Mace & GM Jeremy O”Day

The Roughriders General Manager said leadership was an important trait that he was searching for in the team’s new head coach.

During his initial news conference as head coach, it was evident that Mace possessed the leadership skills that O’Day wanted.

“Someone that has a great ability to be in front of people, not only the players but the staff, that was a big thing for us.”

O’Day said the new head coach creates an instant presence.

“He’s contagious, he’s genuine, you know he’s honest.”

Mace joins the Roughriders after spending the past two seasons (2022-23) as the Defensive Coordinator for the Toronto Argonauts. Before his time with the Double Blue, he was the Defensive Line coach for the Calgary Stampeders (2016-21).

The New Home

A welcome message for new Riders HC Corey Mace. Photo: Blaine Weyland

The announcement of Mace’s hiring became official on Thursday. Last night, he had the chance to walk through the tunnel inside Mosaic Stadium for the first time as a member of the organization.

“I wanted to feel what that felt like. I walked out there and my urge was to kind of walk on the field, but I felt that I didn’t earn that right yet.”

Preparing for a matchup inside Rider Nation using fake crowd noise was difficult, said the new Roughriders head coach when he was a player and a coach.

“It really doesn’t match what it’s like until you get here.”

As a player, the former Stampeder (2010-15) enjoyed playing in Regina.

“That’s because of the fanbase,” said Mace. “This feels like the arena, right, this is what you want as a professional athlete, you want to hear the boos, you want to hear the trash talking, you want that.”

The Roughriders head coaching job was particularly appealing due to the advantage of having the home crowd support.

He may never have worn the green and white, but Mace understands what the football team means to the province.

“You understand it being here, you understand it as a visitor coming in here, and you get to know people from the province of Saskatchewan, what this logo, what this team means, to this community, I take pride in that, as much as the community takes pride in this team.”

HC Corey Mace. Photo: Blaine Weyland

A Passion Ignited by a Former Roughrider

Despite never playing with the Roughriders, a source of Mace’s inspiration came from a former member of the green and white.

As a child, along with his family, Mace had a chance to a BC Lions game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders courtesy of linebacker Brooks Findlay.

After the game, the youngster received an autograph from Findlay, which met the world to him.

“I use to stare at that card often and dream about being a player, but I was looking at this logo (Roughriders) for a long time as a young man.”

Riders HC Corey Mace & GM Jeremy O’Day

The Importance of Community

During his playing career, first at the University of Wyoming and then with the Buffalo Bills, Mace developed a connection between football and the community and feels that is something present in Saskatchewan.

“I believe this is the one organization in the CFL that marries that concept.”

The Port Moody, B.C. product thinks it’s vital for the franchise to return the support from Rider Nation.

“This fanbase gives a tremendous amount to this organization.”

He added that he wants to become a local presence.

“I like having conservations if I’m at coffee shop, I like talking ball or not talking ball, I just like being apart of the community.”

Mace noted it’s important to give back because it’s the proper model he wants to set, but more importantly, “it’s just the right thing to do.”

In the Locker Room and On the Field

The former Argos defensive coordinator will be tasked to turn around the Roughriders fortunate following a pair of 6-12 seasons, failing to make the postseason in both campaigns.

Mace is willing to embrace the high expectations that come with the territory of the Roughriders organization.

“Each year, there’s only one good team, that’s how I look at it, right, you either win the last game or you don’t, whether you’re in it and you lost, or you didn’t even get to the playoffs, it’s the same, you didn’t win.”

Despite their recent struggles, Mace thinks a solid foundation is already in place within Saskatchewan. He added that he’s only communicated with two players, Wide Receiver Kian-Schaffer Bake and Quarterback Trevor Harris.

The Roughriders quarterback is someone that Mace believes can lead the squad.

“He’s been an outstanding quarterback in this league for many years, I think obviously possesses all the skillsets to be a winner. Knowing playing against him, having to coach against him, he creates problems for you defensively and I know he understands how to manipulate that. “

Mace is excited about upcoming conversations with the other players.

“I’m big on relationships, and not phony stuff, like genuine care, you know that’s important to me. “

Besides meeting the players, one of the first tasks on Mace’s to-do list as the head coach will be to build a coaching staff. He noted the process would become immediately.

In terms of the product on the field, Mace wants his team to be a reflection of the province.

“Blue collar, hardworking community, well we’re going to be a blue collar, hardworking community. Fast, physical, smart, these are things we’ll all attack, but certainly a product I would love the fanbase to come back and be extremely proud of.”

Mace and his family, his wife Petra, and their two children, Maleena, 4, and Micah, 1, will be relocating to Regina shortly.

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