Jim Barker fired as general manager of the Toronto Argonauts

The Toronto Argonauts have fired general manager Jim Barker.

“We remain committed to building a best-in-class organization that consistently plays dominant and exciting football, and wins championships. To help achieve this, we feel that we require the fresh approach that only comes from new leadership,” Michael Copeland, Argonauts’ president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. 

The timing of the move is curious. It comes more than two months after the Argos were eliminated from playoff contention after a 5-13 campaign that saw them finish last in the East Division. It was the second straight season the team had missed the playoffs.

“Significant changes like this are often made directly after the season,” Copeland said. “However, having just completed our first year as a new organization, we felt that it was important to take the necessary time to comprehensively review all aspects of our operations before making any decisions. I would like to thank our fans for their patience and support throughout this process.

“We have a solid plan to find our next football operations leader, and we will put it into action immediately. We aim to have someone in place as soon as possible, without compromising the search process.”

Barker was named head coach of the Argos in 2010 before adding the GM title in 2011. Head coach Scott Milanovich was hired to coach the team in 2012 and the team won a Grey Cup in his first season at the helm. The Argos statement said Milanovich remains as head coach and “no further organizational changes are contemplated at this time.”

Barker finishes with 49-59 record as general manager.

The Argos have promoted director of U.S. scouting and pro development Spencer Zimmerman to assistant general manager to handle day-to-day operations until a new GM is found. Zimmerman was hired before the 2016 season after spending four seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.