Scott Mitchell explains the obvious.
[b]Ticats Eat Their Own;
Gm Desjardins Fired;
'I want people in here who will make an impact'
Tue 06 Nov 2007
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats' new general manager
will have CFL experience
and will be expected to turn around
the franchise's sagging fortunes
He will have full control over football operations, including
the decision whether to retain head coach Charlie Taaffe.
That was the pledge
from Tiger-Cats president Scott Mitchell yesterday
upon announcing the firing of general manager
Marcel Desjardins after a 3-15 season.
Mitchell said he supported keeping Taaffe
and director of football operations Dan Rambo,
but was willing to surrender those decisions
to a new GM, whom he wants in place by Dec. 1.
"Ultimately, I can't get the GM that I want unless I give him
full authority to get the people he wants in place.
In all honesty, my opinion is I believe
Charlie deserves another opportunity,"
"[But] we're eighth. We're not trying to be seventh or sixth,
we're trying to be first. The people we are going to look at
are not going to be B-and C-list guys,
we want to get the best guys here. And I think
the best guys typically have experience.
"I don't want to guess, I don't want to hope,
I want to get the people in here who I trust
will make an impact and ensure this doesn't happen
he continued. "We're not in rebuilding mode.
The new general manager coming in has to
understand that winning is the only option."
Mitchell, who took over
the club's top position in January,
said the team made a mistake last season
by hiring too much inexperience in one swoop
and that it had been "dysfunctional"
for not hiring its front office
in a top-down manner.
Mitchell inherited Desjardins, who had
never been a general manager before,
and Rob Katz, another first-time GM,was hired
above then-coach Greg Marshall in August 2005.
"When we decided to make the changes we did last year,
we didn't have nearly enough experience,
not only with the front office but
with the coaching staff," said Mitchell,
the four assistants who had one
or no years' experience in the CFL.
"Continuity is important,
but you only have continuity
when you have the right mix."
Mitchell indicated that he would not talk to
candidates currently employed by CFL teams
until they are eliminated from the playoffs.
Rambo has already ruled himself out, but
his hiring in August signalled that
Mitchell had lost confidence in Desjardins.
Desjardins, who comes from nearby Burlington,
Ont., accepted his dream job in August, 2006,
signing a three-year contract.
He could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Mitchell said Desjardins was
when told of the decision on Saturday
and one source said
Desjardins left Ivor Wynne Stadium
before the end of the Tiger-Cats'
21-19 victory over Edmonton
in the season finale.
The club used 29 first-year players this season,
which suggested that Desjardins believed
he had time to rebuild the team.
But Mitchell said that was not the case.
"We talked about it very early on.
There was no concept that
we would sacrifice this year
for the betterment of the long-term."
Mitchell admitted that another change
in direction did not "send the right message"
and that the team had taken
another public-relations hit.
Still, given the amount of times he repeated
the team's record,"3-15," yesterday,
it was clear that Mitchell's patience
resides in the same places as the fans'.
Since buying the club four years ago,
owner Bob Young, who said this weekend
that he would raise prices on premium tickets,
has turned the Ticats into the model franchise
everywhere except the football field.
Hamilton has now missed the playoffs in three straight years
and the club's win total has decreased each season since
compiling a 9-8-1 record in 2004, Young's first season.
"Bob Young has made a significant investment
in this franchise in this community.
The frustration is we haven't
capitalized on that investment
and we're in a situation where
we need to start capitalizing
on that investment," Mitchell said.
"The fans have been unbelievable... but
at some point in time, enough is enough,
and I think we've reached that point."
Scott Mitchell explained what
even the most casual fans know.
We should have hired from the top down.