Former Riders head coach Corey Chamblin open to CFL return

As the weather turns cold and CFL fans gear up for a chilly Grey Cup week in Toronto, former Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Corey Chamblin is enjoying the glorious sunshine at his home in Arizona.

But by the time the warm weather returns to Canada next spring, Chamblin could be on his way back as well.

“I’m open to listening to any opportunity that presents a chance for me to win again,” Chamblin said this week.

The 39-year-old is certainly familiar with the challenges posed by the CFL’s championship week. He led the Riders to a Grey Cup triumph on prairie soil in 2013, earning the franchise just its fourth, and most recent, CFL title since being established in 1910. Though Chamblin’s still under contract with the Roughriders until the end of the 2017 season, he’s open to a return to the CFL coaching ranks.

During three-and-a-half seasons as head coach in Riderville, Chamblin posted a 29-34 regular season record while going 3-2 in the playoffs. All those post-season victories came in the most memorable run in Saskatchewan sports history which saw the Riders claim the Grey Cup at Taylor Field with a dominant win against Hamilton 45-23.

“It was great to be a young head coach and experience the highs and lows of a high-pressure situation, especially in Saskatchewan,” Chamblin said.

After Chamblin was let go by the Riders midway through the 2015 season, a number of teams inquired about his services last winter as the coaching carousel was spinning.

“There was interest from teams north and south or the border. Several phone calls from CFL teams for positions, but none about head coaching,” Chamblin explained. “None of them happened to be a fit at the time.”

The Alabama native turned from football coach to entrepreneur when Chamblin started Gameday Connections.

“After the hiring season was over and several opportunities didn’t pan out, I turned my attention to helping others by sharing the knowledge that I have attained through my experiences as a journeyman NFL player and a championship winning coach,” Chamblin said.

In a short period of time, a professional football player or coach can go from being young, up-and-coming stars to out of a job.

“That’s why we created Gameday Connections a website that allows coaches and athletes to connect with opportunities on and off the field. We believe that your strongest connections are your Gameday Connections.”

Chamblin strongly feels that networking in the football world begins with current and former teammates and coaches that developed a bond on gameday.

“We want to enhance those connections with our new platform. Not only do we want to enhance connections for increased opportunities, but through our upcoming scouting tool create more opportunities for players to be seen by coaches and scouts of professional leagues such as the CFL, AFL and IFL,” Chamblin said. “Coaches can also use the platform to increase connections in the coaching industry.”

That’s how Chamblin was able to be on the sidelines of a Steelers game in December 2015, with one of his mentors.


“A great example of one of my Gameday Connections would be Mike Tomlin who allowed me to guest coach and gain in-season experience in the NFL. He was my defensive backs coach in Tampa Bay,” Chamblin said. “Sometimes it’s not just about who you know, but who knows you. And that’s why you want to stay connected in this game.”

Along with developing a new business and coaching, Chamblin’s spent time studying how to build continual success for a franchise.

“This game is about more than X’s and O’s – it’s about the people that make the plays. The stronger your relationships are with the players the better you’ll be,” Chamblin said.

That sounds like a man whose been further progressing as a coach. Couple that with the fact that many connections from Chamblin’s old staffs are spread throughout the three-down league, and it seems like a return north could happen.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.