Ticats go Christmas shopping for new defensive coordinator

Kent Austin has the best kind of Christmas list: one he gets to fill himself.

With the departure of Orlondo Steinauer to the Fresno State Bulldogs, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats vice president of football operations and head coach is in the market for a new defensive coordinator. He’s made a list, checked it twice and he’s gonna find out who can talk to and who he needs permission to interview.

After some tampering hijinks last off-season, the CFL passed new regulations that strictly govern how teams interested in coaches currently employed by another franchise can proceed. Luckily, one of the early front-runners is already on the Hamilton payroll.

Austin said current special teams coordinator Jeff Reinebold, who ran the defence in Montreal in 2012, will likely be the team’s sole internal candidate. Of course, moving Reinebold from one portfolio to another would also create another opening.

“I’m thinking about current staff, personalties, where we need to be philosophically,” Austin said. “He’s the best special teams coach I’ve ever been around. That doesn’t mean he’s not a candidate for the other position but we have to look at the entire puzzle.”

Among external candidates, Austin could opt for an experienced CFL coordinator currently outside the league, including former Roughriders head coach Corey Chamblin and current Queen’s defensive coordinator Greg Marshall – both former Hamilton coaches. Or he could pursue coaches currently under contract with another club but who may be looking for a change (or have it forced upon them): Montreal’s Noel Thorpe, Toronto native Mike Benevides (currently with Edmonton) or Winnipeg’s Richie Hall, who coached with Austin in Saskatchewan in 2007.

He could also hand the reins to one of the league’s up-and-comers, as he did when he hired Steinauer – who had been almost exclusively a position coach up top that point – in 2013. The name at the top of that list is likely current Edmonton defensive backs coach Barron Miles.

“I would strongly lean to experience in the CFL but it depends on the person,” Austin said. “I’ll be open to the best candidate to fit our needs.”

Steinauer is the second coordinator to leave in the Ticats in as many seasons after offensive coach Tommy Condell departed abruptly last spring. But Austin said the continuity the team has enjoyed – Steinauer, Reinebold and Condell were together for Austin’s first three seasons – is the aberration, not the departures.

“We were fortunate to have years of consistency, that’s not common,”Austin said. “It’s a volatile business, it’s transient in nature. That’s what we deal with, that’s what all teams deal with.”

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1392 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

32 Comments on Ticats go Christmas shopping for new defensive coordinator

  1. If I was Kent Austin, Reinbold and Thorpe would both be getting Christmas cards from me with a time and date for an interview on January 2nd 2017!

  2. Solara2000 // December 16, 2016 at 9:26 am //

    Nice compliment on Coach Reinebold; I like his story and approach with his players.
    Regardless of whether it’s him or an external candidate, two thirds of the staff are still sharing the same philosophy. 11

  3. I would hire Reinbold as the DC and promote his ST assistant into the ST coordinator position

    • Reinebold’s ST assistant has only been there one year – not enough experience IMO. Simmons, the former ST assistant who would have been good, went to BC last season as STC.

      Personally I’d like to see Reinebold remain at STC. Not sure if I’m too enthralled with the idea of Chamblin whose defence in Hamilton in 2011 was inconsistent at best to say nothing of the poor showing of the Rider defence in 2015 which was under his watch until he got canned. Miles sounds like an intriguing prospect though. I’m sure Zach would rather play WITH a Thorpe defence than against them IF he were allowed to leave Montreal to make a lateral move – something not usually approved by the league. I doubt Austin will waste much time looking for candidates although he’ll do his due diligence and find the best replacement for the team.

  4. Why not Dennis Mcphee? ?? He’s been there all along with orlondo..reinbold was Awful in Montreal as the DC..leave him at special teams coach.

  5. Barron Miles is definitely an intriguing possibility — great and smart player, has had coaching experience on several teams (Drew: he was DB coach for the Eskimos this past season, not the Riders)

    I wonder if Marcello Simmons would be interested in a shift to DC (something he’s done at the university level, and he has been a defensive assistant). Somewhat of a lateral move, though DC has a bit more cachet than STC so Wally may allow him to talk to Kent.

    Thorpe, Benevides, Hall — it would likely take a dismissal from their current teams to make them available, as this would be a lateral move for any of them (and the first two are “assistant head coaches” already). Depending what happens in Toronto Stubler could be available too, but I think regardless of Milanovich staying or going he’d probably be kept around.

    I think Austin is more likely to choose another up-and-comer over a long-time veteran coach. And it has to be someone amenable to the system Austin prefers.

    • Ah — you edited the story to corrent Miles’ current team by the time I hit the post button… thanks Drew.

  6. Lateral movement for Thorpe from Montreal to Hamilton? Per rules implemented in the off-season, the Als would get compensation. What would that be? Player, draft pick, money???

    • Terry Baxter // December 17, 2016 at 10:39 am //

      Happily give them a draft pick. Outside of a very few exceptions, Kent never uses the players he drafts except for special teams. Draft picks are wasted on Austen. Now Calgary…there is a team who knows how o draft and actually use the players in the position they were drafted for.

      • After doing a little research, I believe Noel Thorpe is still under contract for another year. Not only that, he likely has no out-clause. Unless there is a miracle and he can somehow convince the new administration to let him go elsewhere, chances are Thorpe is going nowhere. In this case, the Als would just refuse the Ti-Cats permission to speak with Thorpe.

        • ladieda: No harm in Kent Austin asking! The big question to me is how much money do the Tiger-Cats want to spend on Thorpe….if he becomes available.

  7. Please, not Chamblin. (A train wreck wrapped in a catastrophe). Dennis McPhee gets my vote.

  8. Bob McKnight // December 16, 2016 at 5:18 pm //

    Thorpe may want that change of scenery. Love his D schemes and style. Do everything we can to make it happen please!

    • Terry Baxter // December 20, 2016 at 1:25 pm //

      Kent will not sign a high profile coach. Nobody will be allowed to upstage him. Probably will sign a. I body from from no where. Quit dreaming of Thorpe or stublar etc

  9. I really like coach Reinebold,with that said i think he is a better special teams coach than a defensive coach and maybe he could be bumped up to assistant Head coach.Based on the last few seasons Thorpe sure be at the top of our wish list and when he tried to leave for the Eskimos last offseason it was blocked because he had a year remaining on his contract so that must mean his contract is expiring.Miles is a Pretty interesting option.I agree with some of the other comments Chamblin was not very good the one year as Ticats DC so no thanks.I have always thought Richie Hall has been pretty good just not aware of his contract status with Bombers.I wish Steinauer all the best seems to be a really High Quality person.But sad to see Him leave i really believe he would be a great CFL Head Coach and as I have stated in the past i am not a big Austin fan.

    • If I remember correctly, when all the kerfuffle died down about Thorpe trying to go to Edmonton, he was given a contract extension that would cover at least this coming season and I think an assistant HC title although that could be “gone with the wind” of change in new management, if indeed he had the title.

  10. blackandgold // December 17, 2016 at 8:25 am //

    I throw my vote in for defensive coach Greg Marshall or Dennis McPhee.
    Didn’t there used to be a loop hole that if you give the coach a higher ranking title he can leave a team? Meaning if they named Thorpe Defensive Coordinator and a bogus add-on title

  11. I throw my vote to any D/C, CFL, University, College or even high school level who can teach the TC defence to:
    1. Tackle;
    2. Not drop a sure interception;
    3. Actually hit an opponent with enough force to break an egg;
    4. Make an impact play;
    5. Actually win a foot race down the field;
    6. Not take a stupid penalty;
    7. Not allow some journeyman QB to beat you;
    8. Actually make a stop on a key 2nd down conversion.
    Oh yeah, almost forgot, also take the “Prevent Defence” page from Orlando’s playbook and throw it in the shredder. Personally? I don’t think any DC will be effective so long as Austin is around…he can shop all want to but the best he’ll end up with is mediocrity. Happy Holidays.

  12. thomasammy8 // December 18, 2016 at 12:36 pm //

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  13. Took a few days off from 3D Nation (flu) and almost missed the biggest news of the year… as usual I have a comment or two…

    1.) Orlando will be missed… great coach who made our mediocre talent look and play better than they were…

    2.) Like all US born players and coaches… an opportunity to go back home is hard to turn down… no hard feelings towards Orlando or Kent… some things are just too big to prevent…

    3.) Money can be a motivator, but the potential future opportunities can be even bigger… and in Hamilton or the CFL they were limited by comparison to the NCAA or NFL…

    4.) Best case scenario Austin gets to hire DC Noel Thorpe and OC Scott Milanovic… reuniting the power team from Montreal… (Yeah I know I’m dreaming…)

    5.) @Baxter… re: Austin’s draft… guess you haven’t heard of Revenberg??? This kid is a future HoF OL who can play guard or tackle…

    6.) For all the Austin haters… guess going to two Grey Cups wasn’t good enough… sure beats any HC we’ve had in past 20 years… and if you don’t like his post game interviews where his uber competitiveness shows and his passionate defence of his players and staff prevents him from publicly criticizing them… well too bad for you… but he’s the best HC we’ve had in years and yeah he makes some mistakes but then he owns them… I have publicly criticized KA (on this blog) but that doesn’t change my respect for the man and the coach…

    7.) Going to be an interesting off-season again…

    Cheers… Snake

    • With all due respect to your #6 – I would rather win a GC and suck for 10 years than no GC at all…which now amounts to 17 years and counting. Maybe I am in the minority here but 1999 seems like a lifetime ago. And yes, bless the man for at least getting to the dance, twice, but the reality is that the ultimate prize has eluded him…and us fans. Personally? I think KA has taken this TC team as far as it can go – which is basically one arguable call away from a GC in 2014. Respect him? Absolutely. But I think after continuously swinging for the fences and hitting the ground instead it’s time to switch up the batter.

      • blackandgold // December 19, 2016 at 8:45 am //

        I do not agree with you. As a player I would rather suck for years and win a single Grey Cup. Keep that ring for life. As a fan I don’t get a ring. I want to be entertained and stay interested in a team. Ticats have provided this for the fan base. If the team totally sucked I would stop following for the season. Nobody wants that.

    • Terry Baxter // December 20, 2016 at 1:29 pm //

      Yes I heard of him. He is the exception to the rule. Austen does not use drafted players in MOST cases except for on ST. The draft is wasted on this guy. Next time do not argue using the exception to the rule.

  14. Lindsay Wilcox // December 18, 2016 at 5:16 pm //

    I’m with Snake.

  15. @Philski… all good points…I can’t argue with your logic, it obviously suits your perspective… but for me personally I would rather a consistently good team that is a perennial contender who is always in the playoffs… to me it’s pretty simple… you cannot win the GC if you don’t make the playoffs… the model of consistency I use is the Calgary Stampeders… they don’t win all the GCs but always have a chance to win it…

    Re: spelling Orlondo vs. Orlando… damn auto-correct gets me every time…

    Cheers… Snake

    • Ticat Mike // December 19, 2016 at 3:20 pm //

      Sorry for being selfish – but I long for the days of a dominant AND Grey Cup winning team. It’s been done by others, and by the Cats in the 60s. Its been a long dry spell, and most frustrating, but hope runs eternal, right?

      • Terry Baxter // December 20, 2016 at 1:32 pm //

        Cats only won three cups in the 60s. They dominated a very weak east division. Tho Ottawa was pretty good. Argos sucked until 68 and the Als sucked until 1970. The dominate cats are a myth. Tho 1967 they did indeed dominate with a stalker defence.

  16. janisortiz444 // December 19, 2016 at 4:53 pm //

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  17. Mcphee has way more experience than Orlando did and does…give him a shot! !

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