Toronto Argonauts general manager Michael “Pinball” Clemons is taking a calculated approach in determining whether to retain Corey Chamblin as head coach.
There has yet to be a final decision regarding Chamblin’s future in double blue. He signed a three-year contract in December 2018, which means there are two seasons to run on Chamblin’s current deal.
While other teams around the CFL have openly interviewed candidates to fill vacant head coach and coordinator positions, the Argos have stayed on the sidelines while Clemons progresses to an outcome. The longer Chamblin is left in limbo the more doubt it creates for him moving forward in Toronto.
Pinball spent 12 seasons with the boatmen as a star running back. The Canadian Football Hall of Famer earned the Most Outstanding Player award in 1990. He recorded 25,438 combined yards with the Argos, a CFL record, while winning three Grey Cup championships as a player.
Clemons twice served as head coach of the Argos putting together a 67-54-1 win-loss record while guiding Toronto to a Grey Cup championship in 2004. He served as Argos team president from November 2001 to September 2002 and chief executive officer (December 2007 to November 2008) before being appointed vice chair of the team in May 2009, a role he has held since.
The 54-year-old Clemons bleeds double blue and wants to ensure the next move is made diligently rather than hastily.
2019 was Chamblin’s first season at the helm of the Argos and Toronto finished out of the playoffs. The Argonauts had the second-worst record in the league at 4-14. Chamblin specializes in defence, but Toronto gave up a league-worst 29.9 defensive points per game. The year started by allowing 64 points in a 50-point blowout loss to Hamilton.
Chamblin was the Argos’ defensive coordinator during the Grey Cup-winning 2017 season. That Argos defence was stout under Chamblin, but sunk to the bottom of the league in 2018 while he worked at the University of Arkansas.
Toronto allowed the most points (560) – the only team to allow more than 30 per game – while giving up a league-high 35 touchdown passes, recording the lowest amount of sacks (24) and forcing the least amount of turnovers (26).
The 42-year-old coach bench boss has a championship on his resume. Chamblin led the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a Grey Cup triumph on prairie soil in 2013, earning the franchise just its fourth CFL title since being established in 1910. 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.
When Clemons was hired as GM he was given the authority to make the last call and his first major ruling will provide the next course for the Argos.