One of the worst-kept secrets in Saskatchewan is now official as Chris Jones now has control of the Roughriders’ football operations department.
Jones was introduced to the province at news conference in the Riders locker room on Monday afternoon ending over a week of speculation that linked him to the job.
“I’m from a little small place down in Tennessee called South Pittsburgh, Tennessee. For someone to have this opportunity, I woke up with a smile on my face,” said Jones.
“I look forward to being able to put together a really good football team and put together a coaching staff and an organization that I know the fans will be proud of.”
Just what Jones’ plan is to bring the Riders back to the top of the CFL isn’t known at this point as it’s too early to know all of the details.
When push came to shove, the move to Saskatchewan was an easy one for Jones both professionally and personally.
“Football matters a whole down south and it matters a whole lot here. That hinged a lot on my decisions,” he said.
Naturally, Jones is looking forward to being the man in charge of the entire football side of things.
That being said, Jones knows there’s going to be a bit of learning curve as he goes along as a general manager for the first time.
“There’s a lot of phone calls to be made to coaches and I already made a bunch of those calls myself,” he said.
“There’s a bunch of personnel aspects were going to have to take from the work-outs were going to do, to where were going to have mini-camp. That’s kind of where we’re going.”
Jones joins the Riders after spending the last two season as head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos. He’s also worked for the Toronto Argonauts, Calgary Stampeders and Montreal Alouettes during his time in the CFL.
Riders’ president and CEO Craig Reynolds isn’t too concerned about Jones’ recent mini-trend of jumping from job to job. Jones felt he’s only had to do that to get the promotions he’s been looking for.
Ultimately, Reynolds sees Jones as a leader that can turn the Riders into the consistent contender he’s looking for as Jones has won a Grey Cup everywhere he’s worked.
“He’s had a track record of success wherever he’s been. He’s built programs, you’ve seen what he’s done in Edmonton very recently,” noted Reynolds.
Jones wasn’t interested in getting into specifics of who his new coaching staff in Saskatchewan would be when asked if the team’s former interim head coach Bob Dyce had a role on the team going forward.
However, if you do some reading between the lines, a lot of change should be expected and Jones seems to already know who he wants to bring in.
“I’m not going to sit here and make any bold predictions or anything like that. I can tell you that were going to put a really high quality and high character staff together that enjoys being around each other. We’re going to bring in good people first,” said Jones.
One title that has been filled already is defensive coordinator. Jones will be in charge of the team’s defence like he was with the Eskimos as their head coach.
Jones signed a three-year contract with the Riders.