Temperature check: which remaining CFL head coaches are on the hot seat?

Photo: David Mahussier/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

The first CFL coaching domino of 2022 has fallen early as the Montreal Alouettes parted ways with head coach Khari Jones after a 1-3 start to the season.

Only one team made a coaching change following the 2021 campaign and there are no first-time head coaches currently in the league. We’re due for a shakeup to the existing hierarchy but who will be the next bench boss to follow Jones into unemployment?

Montreal’s early move gives us an excuse to check the temperature of the chair that each of the other eight CFL head coaches sit on. Some can rest comfortably no matter what happens this year, while others are already on the hot seat.

Photo: David Mahussier/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Mike O’Shea, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Temperature: Ice cold

The Bombers may not look like the powerhouse they were last season but the team is still undefeated and coming off back-to-back Grey Cup victories. Mike O’Shea’s title as the best coach in the CFL is not in jeopardy yet and he’ll have an office in Winnipeg as long as he wants to be there.

Photo: Larry MacDougal/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Dave Dickenson, Calgary Stampeders
Temperature: Ice cold

While some may question whether they are as good as their record says they are, the Stampeders have been a model of consistency throughout Dickenson’s tenure. Though no longer the perennial powerhouse of old, Calgary has yet to fall off the cliff and as a result, Dickie is far more likely to be promoted within the organization in the immediate future — John Hufnagel is not getting any younger —  than he is to be kicked to the curb.

Photo: Bob Butrym/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Chris Jones, Edmonton Elks
Temperature: Frosty

It doesn’t much matter whether Chris Jones can spark an early turnaround in Edmonton or if they stay as basement dwellers. The Elks will give their big name offseason hire at least a couple of seasons to get the franchise on the right track, especially after absorbing the financial hit from clearing house a year ago.

Photo courtesy: Jeff Vinnick/B.C. Lions

Rick Campbell, B.C. Lions
Temperature: Nicely chilled

Campbell entered this season with his cheeks slightly warm but the seat beneath him has cooled off considerably. That’s what happens when you are coaching the league’s most exciting team to start the season, steered by a homegrown franchise quarterback who is now the CFL’s biggest star. How much credit Campbell deserves for his present situation is up for debate, but his job is safe so long as Rourke keeps winning.

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Craig Dickenson, Saskatchewan Roughriders
Temperature: Comfortable

Dickenson’s tenure with the Riders has been remarkably successful, marked by two straight West Final losses to the eventual champion Bombers. It’s hard to see his future being in question right now but the Riders have yet to fully live up to expectations and are struggling with penalty issues — often a harbinger of death for coaches. Dickenson is not so entrenched that collapse in a season with home Grey Cup hopes couldn’t prove fatal.

Photo: Bob Butrym/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Orlondo Steinauer, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Temperature: Lukewarm

Widely regarded as one of the league’s best coaches, it’s hard to believe that Steinauer would be feeling any pressure after two straight Grey Cup appearances. An 0-4 start to the season can change that perception, particularly when your hand-chosen quarterback falls as flat on his face as Dane Evans has. The Ticats are likely to have an abundance of patience with Steinauer but if this slide continues, they’ll be left asking if he was ever the one to push them over the hump.

Photo: Bob Butrym/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Ryan Dinwiddie, Toronto Argonauts
Temperature: Lukewarm

The Argos finished first in the East Division in Dinwiddie’s first season and sit in the same position now, but that’s hardly a testament to the Boatmen’s dominance. Their moderate success has sometimes come in spite of the second-year head coach and he’s inspired little confidence in his ability to seize control of a sideline. Like all East teams, Toronto could finish anywhere from worst to first and if its the former, it’s hard to see Dinwiddie sticking around.

Photo: David Mahussier/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Paul LaPolice, Ottawa Redblacks
Temperature: Hot to the touch

Much like Danny Maciocia and Khari Jones, new Redblacks general manager Shawn Burke inherited Paul LaPolice from the previous administration. While the pair seem to get on well together, that undoubtedly means LaPolice has a shorter leash than most — a situation not helped by an 0-3 start to the season.

Ottawa’s bench boss has struggled consistently with clock management and has yet to live up to his reputation as an offensive guru. He can dump a bucket of ice on his hot seat quickly if he starts winning with the talented roster Burke has assembled but if the losses continue to pile up, LaPolice will remain the most uncomfortable coach in the league.

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.