One of the most significant decisions facing the Hamilton Tiger-Cats this off-season surrounds the fate of vice-president of football operations Kent Austin. But if it’s up to a number of Ticat players, he won’t be back.
Close to a half dozen players who spoke to the Spectator say they believe Austin’s return would significantly reduce the likelihood of several prominent free agents-to-be re-signing with the club as well the team’s ability to recruit players from around the league. They also believe it’s unlikely June Jones will return if Austin remains in his current role.
“Things were OK as long as Tommy and O were here but after Tommy left, things started to go down hill,? said one player. “Then when Orlondo left, things really got worse. Those guys were buffers.?
With Austin entering his fifth season as head coach in 2017, the Ticats started 0-8 – including a 60-1 loss to the Calgary Stampeders. Multiple players said there was disorganization behind the scenes that was significantly impacting the team’s on-field performance.
“Guys really started to get frustrated in training camp. Then when we started losing, there were guys speaking up in the locker room, guys who you wouldn’t expect to speak out,? one player said.
Said another: “It became evident he had lost the locker room.?
“Speedy has been telling everybody that he won’t re-sign if Kent is still around in any capacity,? one player said. “I think some other guys are in the same boat.?
While Jones has said he would like to return and that he has a constructive working relationship with Austin, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that Jones’ meetings about his future have been with CEO Scott Mitchell and not Austin, who is technically his boss.
“I’ve never seen those two have a conversation and I don’t think June wants to be in an environment like that. He’s not that kind of guy,? one player said. “I think June can have a relationship with anyone and he did what he had to do to be here but they weren’t on the same page in any way.?
Said another: “Honestly, if June’s gone and Kent’s still here next season, I have no idea what would happen. But it wouldn’t be good.?
Just Quotes. No actual information. Austin is a good, well organized coach who has been successful.
Not sure which players didn't like Kent? Easy to point fingers. I didn't do it" he did.
Regardless. Coach fired himself which is a brave move and hire a nice easy going replacement Who may or maybe not be back either way. If Jones returns he has a Hugh task to right that boat.
Can he? Probably not. Better chance with Austin on board. Austin didn't get stupid over night.
Austin reminds me a little of Mike Keenan and Tortorella. While not as good a coach as them his effectiveness only lasts a couple season before he starts to wear on the psyche of a team.
If what is posted above is true about Jones and the players then Austin has to go. It was clear this season he had lost the respect of the players. They can't afford to see their top players leave and Jones seemed to be heading in the right direction with the team.
Send Kent to Montreal, they have nowhere to go but up from where they are.
I really like the Keenan and Tortorella comparison.
I think the coordinator situation under Kent speaks volumes about what's going on. Tommy Condell left for no apparent reason. Orlondo Steinauer left the year later. Kent was never able to find qualified replacements. Had to pluck Stef Ptaszek out of McMaster, and trusted him to do absolutely nothing on game day. Used his buddy Jeff Reinebold as DC, which was even worse than many predicted.
Either no one wanted to work with Austin, or he didn't feel comfortable sharing responsibility with others. Regardless, it falls on him. This, in addition to losing the locker room, and fielding a clearly less talented year after year should be more than enough reason to get him canned from his role as VP.
Austin did not fire himself. The sense among Ticat fans when it happened was that he was told to step down. Tillman & Reinebold were the ones with connections to June Jones, not Austin. Austin's choice of words in the presser where he announced it was telling: "The decision was made to appoint June Jones as head coach..." Not "I made the decision".
I liked Austin when he came here & there was no arguing with his success in the first 2 years. But the sheer volume of incidents involving him over the last couple of years, hitting refs, bumping players, belligerence toward the media in post game interviews, the shouting match with Collaros early this year, the defection of Condell at the last minute, the departure of Steinauer, argues that there may be substance to what has been reported.
If Austin goes to Montreal - he can take his bum buddy Left Reinbold with him. Two birds - one stone!
If GI Jones doesn't return the best thing for the current Hamilton group is a mildly meek head coach who helps his players vs. screaming at them. Guy like Jack Chapdelaine comes to mind. Even Mike Benevides, the ferocious sewer rat who got short shrifted in BC.
After that - the list is reasonably long - Corey Chamblin, Paul LaPolice, Noel Thorpe, Orlondo Steinauer, even longshots like Travis Lulay & AC Calvillo.
Well well, very interesting about Austin. He does seem, at least on television, to be someone with a very "up and down" demeanor. What that means, don't know but what others are saying here, well, hmmm, something might be up with him and the Cats for sure.
I've sort of thought Mitchell was more of an issue than Austin within the TiCats hierarchy, but again, don't know. I do know Jones was able, quickly, to see that Banks would be very useful as a receiver. Austin couldn't seem to figure that out and hence I really do question his ability to judge talent for the position sort of deal.
For now Bob Young seems to be supporting Austin even getting into a bit of a twitter war with some fans calling a couple of his players 'cowards' and the reporter covering the Cats Drew Edwards 'naive' and Austin 'one of the best coaches in CFL history'.
Needless to say the reaction to those comments by Young are almost unanimously negative.
Guber Young has absolutely no incentive to can Old Kent. So long as fans continue to jam into the Tim Hortons Box, TV revenues remain strong and head salesman Mitchell can sell program space and other advertising to eager and naïve local businesses - why change? The poor on-field product doesn't seem to cause any problems!
B Young has enough of a contingent of sycophants - really doesn't need Austin unless Austin can bring in top quality NCAA guys, which he isn't.
In Wpg. the radio boasters were boasting that the Als were down to Paul LaPolice & Marcel Bellfeiulle as head coaching choices.
While the thought of Kavish & Plop as top of the circus is repugnant - the idea of Kave & Marcel B is more troubling.
While I've maintained Plop wouldn't head into a swirling sewer like Montreal I've changed my mind. The guy is coming up on 50 yrs of age. He's not exactly scintillating as a keynote speaker (his other job) and getting $300,000 to $360,000 for 3 guaranteed years is substantially better than getting $170 to $200k in Wpg. (non-guaranteed though)
He'll go if he's called - his backup plan is going back to TSN as their full-time coach's corner guy plus getting into game commentary, too!
The only sidebar for PLOP - if Wally offers him the BC job for the same (or more) money and similar guarantees he'll head west; working with Wally as the GM is far more attractive than trying to work with the moody and pervasive Reed.
Austin has 2 years left on contract at $400,000 He goes it costs you a small $800,000
Keep him as VP costs nothing. June Jones will want AT LEAST $400,000 per year for 2 years.
Jones at 64 is on short cycle. Was paid 2 million a year at Southern Methodist but had major run in's with players and administrators. Check out Wiki
Now if its your money you choose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!