HAMILTON, Ontario — Kent Austin removed himself as head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and turned over the winless Canadian Football League team to assistant coach June Jones.
The announcement came Thursday during an off week for the Tiger-Cats (0-8).
“I really believe that this is the best decision right now for the organization,” said Austin, who remained the team’s vice president of football operations. “We’ll all harness our different skills and aptitude to right the ship.”
The 64-year-old Jones joined the team three weeks ago. The former NFL and CFL quarterback has been a head coach with the Atlanta Falcons and in college at Hawaii and SMU.
“June is very capable, he has a great track record,” Austin said. “I’ve established a really good relationship with him over the last two or three weeks. He’ll do a wonderful job.”
Austin was in his fifth season as Hamilton’s head coach. Since guiding the Tiger-Cats to a second straight Grey Cup appearance in 2014, he went 17-27. Austin signed a new deal in January 2016 with Hamilton to remain the team’s coach, general manager and vice president of football operations through the 2019 season. He relinquished the GM position to Eric Tillman in March 2016.
Austin said he’d been seriously considering stepping down as coach for the last two or three weeks, and made the decision Wednesday.
“This was a decision that wasn’t made lightly and was under a lot of deliberation, and trying to be as self-aware as possible to do the right thing for the organization,” Austin said. “I will always make those decisions with that as the backdrop.”
Austin spent 10 seasons as a CFL quarterback before moving into the coaching ranks. He was named coach of the year in 2007 after leading the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a Grey Cup victory.