A day after Ticats vice-president of football operations Kent Austin acknowledged he’d talked to U.S. schools about potential coaching jobs, team CEO Scott Mitchell said he suspects Austin will be with the organization for the foreseeable future.
Speaking on the Fan 590 radio station in Toronto Tuesday morning, Mitchell told co-hosts Jeff Blair and Stephen Brunt that Austin is not actively seeking another job but there have been expressions of interest.
“Kent is not looking at other opportunities. Despite a very tough year last year, Kent still has a terrific reputation as a coach, not just in Canada but in North America,” Mitchell said. “Obviously when a guy like Kent Austin is not coaching, he and his agent are going to get inbound calls from people wondering if Kent wants to coach.”
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.
“He’s been incredibly transparent with us and he’s said right now that he’s not interested in coaching next year but he is a coach, he’s been a coach for a long time and there may be a time where he wants to get back to coaching,” Mitchell said. “We have a very transparent dialogue about ll those opportunities. It’s certainly not true that he’s actively pursuing coaching opportunities.”
Austin has two more years remaining on the deal he signed in January 2016 and Brunt pointed out that Mitchell could deny potential suitors the opportunity to speak to Austin.
“We could say no but we wouldn’t say no to Kent if he felt strongly about a great coaching opportunity for him and it was the right situation for his family. We talked about that a lot when he made the decision to step down and we certainly wouldn’t stand in the way of it but I can tell you for sure it would have to be a very special and unique opportunity and my sense is that Kent right now, as much as he loved coaching, he’s loving not coaching,” Austin said.
“That may change next week, it may change next month. I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon. But we’re well prepared and well structured to deal with it but I suspect Kent is going to be with the organization at least through next year if not through his whole contract.”