Ottawa Redblacks fire head coach Paul LaPolice

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

The Ottawa Redblacks have fired head coach Paul LaPolice, according to a report from Postmedia’s Tim Baines.

“Paul is an excellent man who has put everything he has into this job.  But, unfortunately, we haven’t won nearly enough games,” OSEG CEO Mark Goudie said in a statement confirming the news. “We are committed to getting back to what RNation deserves which is exciting and winning football.”

The 52-year-old LaPolice was hired as the team’s head coach in December of 2019, shortly after winning the Grey Cup as the offensive coordinator of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He did not make his debut along Ottawa’s sideline until August 2021 due to the cancellation of the 2020 CFL season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Redblacks went 3-11 under LaPolice in 2021, finishing fourth in the East Division and eight points out of a playoff spot. General manager Marcel Desjardins was fired with three games remaining in the regular season and replaced on an interim basis by assistant general manager Jeremy Snyder.

Ottawa hired Shawn Burke as the team’s new general manager in December 2021 following a decade-long stint in personnel with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Burke and his new front office staff overhauled the team’s roster with over half of the team’s Week 1 starters in 2022 being in their first year with the Redblacks.

The club started the year with an 0-6 record, which was due in part to a leg injury sustained by quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. The team went 3-2 from late July to early September, defeating the Toronto Argonauts, Edmonton Elks, and Montreal Alouettes. Though not formally eliminated, they have since fallen out of postseason contention, recording their third consecutive loss on Friday against the B.C. Lions.

With 9 days to go before their next game against Montreal, Ottawa finally decided to pull the trigger on a coaching change. Veteran special teams coordinator Bob Dyce will serve as interim head coach.

“I have enjoyed working with Paul and thank him for his contributions to this team over the past two seasons; today isn’t an easy day,” Burke said in a team statement. “In this business, sometimes a change is required to help move a team forward and that’s what we’ve done here. We’re fortunate to have a coach of Bob Dyce’s calibre and experience able to step up and take on this role.”

Now 3-11, the Redblacks have four games remaining: two at home and two on the road. The team is currently 0-7 at home this season.