Realty One

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


CALGARY - Aside from the wins, John Hufnagel's legacy as head coach of the Calgary Stampeders will be seen on the sidelines of Sunday's Grey Cup in Winnipeg.

Edmonton Eskimos head coach Chris Jones was Hufnagel's defensive co-ordinator from 2008 to 2011.

Ottawa Redblacks coach Rick Campbell was Jones's successor in Calgary in 2012 and 2013. Campbell also coached the Stampeders' running backs in 2010.

The CFL is sprinkled with men mentored by Hufnagel. He is stepping aside after eight years as head coach of the Stampeders, but will continue as general manager in 2016.

B.C. Lions offensive co-ordinator George Cortez filled the same role for Hufnagel in 2008 and 2009. Cortez was head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2012.

Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive backs coach Tony Missick spent four seasons in that job in Calgary. Jones, Cortez and Missick won Grey Cups with Hufnagel.

"You look at all the guys who have coached under Huf, they're all very good coaches and for good reason because they've learned from him how to be professionals, how to handle the role and how to handle your players professionally and with respect,'' Stampeder quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell said Monday at McMahon Stadium.

Sunday's 45-31 loss to Jones and the Eskimos in the West Division final marked the end of Hufnagel's coaching tenure in Calgary.

His successor is another disciple. Dave Dickenson, Hufnagel's offensive co-ordinator for the last five seasons, takes over in 2016.

Hufnagel steps away from the Stampeder sideline with a 102-41-1 regular-season record. This season, the 64-year-old from Coraopolis, Pa., became the second-fastest coach in CFL history to 100 career wins behind Wally Buono.

Hufnagel coached the Stampeders to Grey Cups in 2008 and 2014 and another appearance in 2012, as well as seven appearances in the division final.

The Stampeders played 69 regular-season games under Hufnagel without suffering back-to-back losses, which is a Canadian pro football record.

"I had a blast for eight years,'' Hufnagel said. "Especially the last four, the professionalism that the players brought to work each and every week was such a big part of them being able to win a lot of games.

"I'm sure there will be things that I miss, but there's going to be a lot of things I enjoy in the realm of the general manager job. I'm still going to be here on game day. The adrenalin flow, I'll still have on game day. Hopefully I can help prepare the team as best I can sitting in the general manager chair.''

Dickenson did not speak to reporters Monday. A Calgary Stampeder spokesman said the team's position was Hufnagel is still head coach and GM until after Sunday's Grey Cup.

But Dickenson addressed the Stampeders as head coach for the first time during Monday's locker cleanout.

Dickenson was given the awkward title of assistant head coach to start the 2014 season, which was an indicator of Calgary's succession plan. Hufnagel said the time was right to make the transition.

"Continuity is important,'' Hufnagel said. "Dave is an excellent football coach. He's a very smart man, a smart football coach. He just needs to have some good luck, good fortune and hopefully I can help him.''

The Stampeders gave the Roughriders permission to speak to assistant general manager and director of player personnel John Murphy for the 'Riders vacant GM position.

Murphy is under contract in Calgary until Dec. 31. His skills in talent identification and recruitment helped the Stampeders stay deep positionally and resilient enough to win games when hit by significant injuries.

"I think myself and 250,000 other people that live out there are probably interested in that job,'' Murphy said. "From a professional standpoint, it's time to take a look. The Stampeder organization has been great to me.

"I'm not actively pursuing anything. If somebody wants to speak to me about something, they're more than welcome to contact Huf. I have no reason to be anything but pleased with the position I have other than the latest result.''

Hufnagel said he'll meet with Dickenson and the rest of the coaches Tuesday to evaluate players and consider free-agent needs for 2016.

The fotball future of running back Jon Cornish is murky. The CFL's leading rusher and Most Outstanding Canadian from 2012 to 2014 did not play in Calgary's last five games because of neck pain. Injuries have limited Cornish to nine games each of the last two seasons.

Cornish's situation will influence Calgary's ambition to re-sign running back Jerome Messam, who will be a free agent. Eric Rogers, the CFL's leader in receiving yards this season, and veteran defensive back Keon Raymond will also be among Calgary's prominent free agents.

(Canadian Press)


Anonymous said...

Chris Jones looking good in Rider green as gm/head coach 2016+. The opportunity is there to advance his personal resume running football operations at Saskatchewan.

Anonymous said...

Pure Comedy that some are still thinking ODay is a viable candidate compared to guys like Murph who have a proven record of success. You don't see 3-15 records in Murph's bio.


Marc said...

when you look at the Stamps they keep winning with all the injuries they had. The Riders were done after a couple of injuries, time to get a winner in the GM chair

Mike said...

Murphy is an outstanding candidate with an a terrific track record of finding talent. He's got to be at the top of the list as we do our search. Happy to see Reynolds thought the same and contacted him 3 weeks ago asking if he's interested. Very astute football guy.

Anonymous said...

Hey Les how good was that 2009 Bomber team that he was involved with. 7 - 11 and had Troy Westwood on it, oh boy not 3 - 15 but still bad.

MC Matt said...

Hi Rod, great Goalie today! I was listening to the podcasts from last week and you had Chris Zelkovich on discussing the state of CFL vs NFL TV ratings. I have a lot to say about CFL vs NFL but that will take about 1000 words plus so … another day!

One thing I will say is now that I do not live in Canada I believe that I have a new perspective. No one os more negative toward the CFL than Canadians. Rogers purposely goes out of its way to undermine the game and destroy the Argos and barely a peep. Imagine if Rogers decided to trash the sport of curling, there would be an uproar. Why is it okay that they trash the CFL?

In Canada it is okay to CFL bash. You never hear anyone trashing MLS soccer and that league really is second rate. It is the exact same game that they play in elite leagues. The CFL, on the other hand, is an entirely different game. There should be a sense of pride in the CFL game, not an apologetic approach, that just invites the bashers. You teach people how to treat you and the CFL needs to be more asservtive.

This brings up a quick point from last week. Phil and the Silver Fox were talking about the NHL and how the structure of the game has changed over the years and how simply calling the rules differently have changed the type of athlete pursued by the NHL. I think we all agree on that. That begs the question… how can we not the see the exact same set of facts applicable to CFL football?

At any rate, back to the TV ratings. The CFL has been throttling the NFL for so long that I don’t think they should sound a retreat after the last season. I did some research and came up with some numbers that may explain why NFL TV ratings are on the upswing in Canada. It all comes down to fantasy football.

When I log into Google and look at the search volumes in Canada for Fan Duel there is a large increase from last year to this year with monthly queries now well over 200K. In Canada there are now 230k searches for Draft Kings fantasy football, that’s double from the beginning of the 2014 NFL season.

I don’t know all of the fantasy football drafts available in Canada but here’s the most telling stat of all. In September of 2014, the beginning of NFL season, there were 1,350,000 searches in Canada for the term ‘fantasy football’. In September 2015 the number of searches in Canada for ‘fantasy football’ was 2,765,000 searches. More than double.

Fantasy football player values are a part of ESPN coverage now. Fantasy football is a driving force and this is where the CFL needs to respond. There has to be some sort of fantasy game for the CFL and at least 1 annual released each June. The CFL needs to be in on this trend.

Generlly the biggest achilles heel of the CFL remains perceptions and dismissive, disrespectful media coverage particularly in the east. The apologtetic PR strategy of the past has got to go. New trends have emerged and the CFL has to move to capitalize.

Anonymous said...

A number of teams have talked with Murphy about GM positions the last couple years yet none have hired him. Wonder why ?

Anonymous said...

Excellent post MC Matt. If you're going to Grey Cup you should be at the Commish's address to repeat what you said here. Why the CFL is under the bus instead of on it is beyond me. Fantasy sports gets the fan involved. Same thing in hockey, why else do you think hockey pool sites like are so popular?


Anonymous said...

A former Bomber? I'm in!!

Rod Pedersen said...

MC Matt: greatest post ever on this blog...

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, MC Matt!
While reading the post, I can't help but picture Arash Madani and Herb Zurokowsky. These are two of the most negative writers, posters, and speakers of the CFL. Seeing them bash the game they cover is so disappointing.

Anonymous said...

MC MATT, there is no uproar about CFL bashing because nobody cares anymore.
Check the ratings, that bus has left long ago dude.

bobd said...

I agree with RP and Dubya. Awesome post! Watching the Eastern Final and SF only reinforces what an awesome game we have.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Rod Pedersen said...
MC Matt: greatest post ever on this blog...

I agree 100%. MC Matt should be the Commissioner or his consultant at the very least.

Old One

Cfl nfl all good .. said...

Wow ... Amazing insight and delivered with factual accuracy. Hopefully the commish is on the same page ... Your articulate presentation gives us hope that we can fight through this ...

Anonymous said...

MC Matt for CFL commish !
Thank you MC Hammer , correction , MC Matt. Hammered it , nailed it. Bring on the 1000 words plus.

Sk_Roughie said...

Great post MC Matt. Hopefully will see more of these posts in the future.

Anonymous said...

So O'day learned the ropes and in's and out's from a GM who was fired, because he couldn't recruit good players and did not have good quality back ups to step in. Taman said himself, that he is not in the business to recruit players, so he brings in Glenn, brings back Sunseri, brings in Tisdale and brings back Woldu etc..... Come on, there is better talent out there.It was Tams job to bring in talent and he didnt preform. He Brings in expensive OLD talent like Richardon and then sits him down and pays him. Paying Taj and sitting him etc. cost the organization hundreds of thousands of dollars (actually probably in the millions). The mistakes were evident. Thankfully Reynolds stepped in to put a stop to the nonsense. It was Taman's job to give the coaches capable talent to work with and he did not preform. And O'Day was learning from this guy and probably had the same contacts, well time for a definite change. O'Day not the guy. Who knows, if Taman was gone earlier and another GM in place, Chamblin may not have went South and been fired so quickly. Once again Taman costing the organization salaries of him and Chamblins. Front office needs a fresh start. If Murphy came here, would Calgary ask for permission to talk to O'Day?? NO.
O'Days cheerleaders are his old player friends, some media and some fans who thinks he is a nice guy. I will rely on Reynolds talking to people who know football, veteran CFL GM's, Winning coaches and winning GM who are in the business and were brought up in the system. My opinion, media's opinion and old Roughrider colleagues of O'Day opinions are just that opinions of people who have never done the job. Lets support Reynolds to do his job, and I think he knows that there are better positioned / equipped people out there then O'Day.

Anonymous said...

Said this for at least two years about the fantasy aspect!

Anonymous said...

Great post from MC Matt. I hope Scruffy reads it and tones down his blogging about his torrid love affair with the NFL.

Anonymous said...

The answer is "fantasy football" eh. My fantasies include actresses, supermodels and anything involving Victorias Secret, not football players. But, that's just me.

dan spott said...

unable to find an email for you so posted here...The CBC show Rewind wanted to use a photo of the Regina 2-13 parade I took...I said are in that photo doing the commentary at -29 C
dan spott

Rod Pedersen said... Thanks Dan! I'd like to see that one!

Anonymous said...

How crazy would it be if all jobs were handed to the person that just looks good on paper? I mean why even conduct interviews?

Many more factors go into this hiring. And if any of you slap dicks were in positions of hiring you would know that.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, nobody cares anymore. Actually, nobody cares about your stupid opinion. There are a lot of us that want to see a vibrant Canadian professional football league. If you don't, that's your problem.

Gundersons Yorkton

Cfl nfl all good .. said...

So leave the blog dude and concentrate on getting that promo at Tim's

Anonymous said...

If people think that O'day agreed with every decision that Taman/Chamblin made, your wrong. I can gaurentee thst he didn't when it came to bringing in guys like Kerry Joseph and Tino Sunseri. Look at the moves he's made with signing Canadians and trades made. It's unfair to paint him with the same brush because we all know he didn't have the final say in those types of decisions.

Anonymous said...

They were in the Grey Cup two years later.

Anonymous said...

How crazy would it be if all jobs were handed to the person that just looks good on paper? I mean why even conduct interviews?

Many more factors go into this hiring. And if any of you slap dicks were in positions of hiring you would know that.

--Amen to the person who wrote this. Truth.

Anonymous said...

Gauranteed he agreed with his full input as they were on the playing roster. Enough said.

Connor said...

Great post Matt. Even Rod,Scruffy,Phil,and Kelly often take shots at the CFL. I don't understand that at all. The only ones who don't are Lynch & Carm. Because those two truly understand how great the CFL really is. Best league in North America bar none