Kent Austin may be looking for another job.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats vice-president of football operations told a TSN 1150’s Louis B on Monday that he has talked to U.S. schools about possible coaching positions.
“There has been some correspondence but nothing that I would say at this point would be very serious,” Austin said.
But the fact that Austin is pursuing other opportunities is interesting given that he currently has two more years remaining on the deal he signed in January 2016 to remain the team’s head coach, general manager and vice-president of football operations through the 2019 season.
A CFL source says the Ticats have given Austin permission to pursue other opportunities.
Austin removed himself as head coach of the Ticats in August after five seasons at the helm with the team sitting at 0-8. Since guiding the Tiger-Cats to a second straight Grey Cup appearance in 2014, he had gone 17-27.
Kent Austin is neither seeking coaching opportunities nor being encouraged to. When you’ve coached in 4 division finals & 3 Grey Cups in 6 years as a head coach, people come calling. As VP he’s made a number of great decisions, @CoachJuneJones is at the top of the list ! #ticats
— Scott Mitchell (@ticatmitchell) December 5, 2017
He named June Jones, hired as an offensive consultant just two weeks earlier, as his interim replacement. Jones went 6-4 in the final 10 games of the season and agreed to a three-year extension earlier Monday.
“It was a big decision. When you remove yourself as I did or you get fired, if you want to coach, you better get back in pretty quickly because you can get out of sight, out of mind very quickly. I understood that when I made the decision but it was still the right decision for the organization,” Austin said on Monday while discussing the Jones extension. “I miss coaching but I love what I do, I love the people that I work for. I love this organization and I’m committed to bringing a championship to the Tiger-Cats.”
Austin said that the negotiations between the team and Jones’ agent, Leigh Steinberg, were handled by team CEO Scott Mitchell.
“Quite frankly, it would be a little awkward to have the previous coach negotiating the contract details with the existing coach, especially the guy I chose to replace me so it just made more sense to let Scott handle that piece of it,” Austin said.
Despite a disappointing 2017 campaign, Austin wouldn’t change how he dealt with things.
“I don’t have any regrets. I tried to handle it as professionally as I could, with the proper amount of humility and understanding that I needed to do what was best for the organization,” Austin said.
“Could I have done things better? You can always do things better but I think that my heart and my responsibilities to this organization were first and foremost.”
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