Theory about the Bad years...

Ok some of us were around to witness the demise of the Riders in the later 70's to the team that missed the playoffs 11 straight seasons.

I was born 2 years after they started to go bad.. and I didn't witness a Rider playoff game till 1988.

I have heard stories from a former player who played with the Riders back in the 60s'-70's. Wayne Shaw. He's a good friend of my Uncle who both Live in Saskatoon, Sask.

the story is that Ron Lancaster near the end of his playing career had the BoE split on running the Organization. Half of the board wanted to remove him and go with younger talent and the other half said no, and unfortunately Lancaster stayed beyond his years that he truly was effective.

Apparently many a QB came through the Riders as a backup and many capable QB's never got a chance because the Riders wouldn't remove Lancaster from his role.

Then Lancaster of course became the Head Coach of the team after he retired.. and he was so bad that as you all saw, we had terrible records.

Nobody was able to convince the BoE to remove him.. but apparently they forced him to resign his position.. but the damage was already done and there was no going back! This team was already headed downhill Just as that 1976 season was coming to a close! it took them 11 seasons and many coaches and players before they were able to make headways.

in 1986 or 87 (I'm not 100%) sure. Bill Baker came in and cleaned house! What I heard was that he literally came in and stormed into the room and cleaned the entire room and started fresh! He hired John Gregory as their HC.. and they managed to by 1988, get into the playoffs with the first home playoff game since 1976 and then a year later win only their 2nd Grey Cup!

Unfortunately. it was short term.. as a few years later this team went down the crapper and well it's just too frustrating to talk about..

The team very slowly turned itself around with the hiring of Roy Shivers but clearly it was only a C+ grade as the Riders never got a home playoff game in any of those seasons and had only 1 winning season at 11-7.

They were consistent but they could never win more than 9 games except for the 1 season..

yet Barrett and Shivers had issues with the local public, and Shivers was never one who made any efforts to obtain really good Canadian Talent! Their worst mistake (IMO) was for so many seasons sticking with Nealon Greene at QB, while stranding Talents such as Burris, Glenn, Butler,

both Burris and Glenn are now playing in Cities and having success.. Glenn not quite as much.

now remember, much of this is from a former player who played with Lancaster for many seasons, he was a numerous All-Star (6 times) and back in his playing days was one of the best Defensive players in the CFL. He also won a Grey Cup in 1966.

In reality it is from you and not a player who played with him. It may be true, but as long as someone else tells the story it’s less believable.

Well the part about Lancaster at the beginning is all the player. i'm just describing it.

the rest of it, yes is me.

Interesting cfl, but what exactly is the point? Or were you just wanting to tell the story (which is fine - I just can't tell though)?

I'm not sure the point either. As for Wayne Shaw's story, I have had many talks with him in his bookstore before it shut down (well, he talked, I listened). Wayne is a great storyteller, but over the years he has become pretty entrenched in certain points of view, and often his stories evolved to fall in line with his views.

I'm not saying he didn't tell the story or that the story is inaccurate, because I don't know. The Mr. Shaw I knew tended to not talk a lot about his football days.

yea that's fine.. my uncle became good friends with him.. and he and my uncle came to Edmonton in 97 when the Riders were here for the Grey Cup.. and we all had a good time.

as well as other events, I wasn't necessarily there. he sure knows his football though!

I'm sure he does....and I wish he would have talked about those days more with me.

Lancaster was never forced to resign! After two years of coaching the Riders he was offered a new contract which he accepted. He had second thoughts over the next couple of days and asked to be released from the new contract. Reed retired after 1975 and by 1977 it was apparent that Lancaster could no longer pull the trigger at the pivot posiion. They wre the heart and soul of the team and the loss of these two key players was one the team never really recxoverd from. By far and away the retirement of Ken Preston after 1977 was the greatest contributor to the decline of the Roughriders. Ken took over as GM in the late 1950's and he began building the team that would dominate for so many years. He traded for or recruited such notables as Lancaster, Reed and Campbell who became the nucleus that he would build a team around. In the nineteen years that he ran the Saskatchewan Roughriders he only missed the playoffs about three times as memory serves me. IMO, Ken Preston made the Riders into the formidable force they were and it was his retirement that led to their decline.

I'm sure if we try, we can come up with a few versions.
I believe Ron was offered a one year extension (may have been for two), which he declined because he wanted a longer contract. Then a fews days later, he changed his mind, but by then that ship had sailed. Either way, he was not forced to resign. As for "the damage being done", Ron likely wasn't ready to take over immediately as a HC. He has admitted as much himself. But realistically, if you look at that team, he blew up an aging group, and recruited a ton of young talent. Despite back-to-back 2-14 years, the team was clearly on the rise again, as the 1980 team was markedly better than the 79 team, despite similar records. And the proof was in 81 when that team was 9-7, despite very little personnel change. So Ron knew what he was doing, even then. It was actually after that period, with the resignation of Jim Spavital--who was doing a good job--that the circus really began.
Regarding "playing too long", I actually believe Ron played better in 1977 than he did in 1976. But he simply did not have the supporting cast that year. Still, he carried that team to an 8-8 record, which most years gets you a play-off spot, but that was one of those weird years. Three teams at 10-6. And in 1978, Ron knew he was going to retire, and we had a transition plan. We played the young QB of the future, Larry Dyck, with Ron as mentor, but fate decided otherwise, and a career ending knee injury was the result for Larry, even though he had shown some promise.
It is beyond ridiculous, whether it is Wayne Shaw, or anyone else, to suggest Ron was not capable of playing, and that we ever had a young QB ready to take over before it was time. It would be like suggesting Montreal should bench Calvillo this year because McPherson and Leak look promising.
There were always detractors. Those who thought as apparently Shaw did. But they were wrong then, and they are wrong today.
Losing Ken Preston was a big transition. Huge in fact. But at the same time, he was somewhat responsible for the decline in 77 and 78. Losing players like Rhett Dawson, Lorne Richardson and allowing the team to get so old all at once is on his head, not Ron's. That is not a slam on Ken. Just the sad end to a glorious run. It happens.
In the 80s, the team simply could not compete with the new era. Big coin for free agents, meant our penny pinching ways no longer worked. We never had a full time scout, we never kept players of significance on the "taxi squad". We were behind the times. Of course the "times" eventually caught up with every team and nearly bankrupted the league. In the meantime, the Riders partly due to their own lack of foresight, partly due to league wide imbalances, suffered on the field.
I think the closest thing to accuracy in the original story, was Bill Baker did in fact storm the Bastille and take control from the inept BoGs. Unfortunately, his term was brief and the Al Ford years returned to the penny pinching, lacklustre ways, and we re-entered the wilderness for another decade. Until the next breath of fresh air blew into town in late 1999 and again turned the BoGs apple cart upside down.

Arius wrote; "I'm sure if we try, we can come up with a few versions.
I believe Ron was offered a one year extension (may have been for two), which he declined because he wanted a longer contract. Then a fews days later, he changed his mind, but by then that ship had sailed".

That is not quite correct. The Roughriders announced in the media that Lancaster's contract had been renewed and Lancaster confirmed that in the media as well. As I stated he had a change of heart a couple of days later and the Riders released him from his committment. So Spavital began the search for a head coach. During Grey Cup week Lancaster asked for a meeting with Jim Spavital and they met in a Toronto hotel. During the meeting Lanacaster told Spavital that he had changed hid mind once again and wished to continue as coach in Saskatchewan. Spavtal told him that it eas no longer possible. Spavital didn't make his reason(s) public that I'm aware of. Perhaps he had allready completed the interviews on his short list and had already decided on Joe Faragalli. But that is only speculation on my part. I don't know why there would be any other versions of how this went down because all of this was widely reported in the media and was common knowledge at the time. Anyone who would like confirmation need only to contact a member of the media who was around at the time,ie: John Lynch, Rob Vanstone ect;.

This is more like how I remember it. Contract offered and accepted, then couple days later said he didn't want it, then later on sd he now did want it again but we sd don't bother.

I will never forget the last year Gregory was here. Right before Matthews came in. We went from Grey Cup champs to the worst team in the CFL. The defence was the worst Rider defence I can remember. We couldn't stop anybody. We couldn't slow anybody down. The team was 1 and 7 or 1 and 8 when Gregory got fired. From champs to chumps in 2 years. :frowning: