‘I’m my own guy’: legacy of grandfather Ron Lancaster didn’t scare Marc Mueller away from Riders’ offensive coordinator job

Marc Mueller will not be taking over as the offensive coordinator of the Saskatchewan Roughriders next season, but the looming statue of his grandfather outside of Mosaic Stadium did not play a role in the decision.

The grandson of legendary Riders’ quarterback Ron Lancaster joined 620 CKRM’s The Sportscage on Friday to explain his decision to withdraw from contention for the open job in Saskatchewan. However, he made clear that the added attention of being descended from the franchise’s greatest player did not scare him away from the Regina pressure cooker.

“I’m my own guy and I’ve dealt with that for basically my entire life. If I was scared off of going to certain places where my family’s worked, they’ve worked in I think six or seven of the nine teams so I’d be pretty limited on where I could go,” Mueller remarked.

“No, I like that family heritage and it’s obviously a huge reason for where I’m at and I’m appreciative and very grateful for that.”

Lancaster began his career with the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1960 but went on to play 16 seasons in Saskatchewan from 1963 to 1978, winning two Most Outstanding Player Awards and being named a CFL all-star four times. The Hall of Fame quarterback would go on to coach the Riders, Edmonton Football Team, and Hamilton Tiger-Cats, winning four Grey Cups in nearly 50 years around the league.

Mueller’s father, Larry, also served as assistant general manager for Saskatchewan from 1989 to 1992, winning a Grey Cup in his first season. However, it was a different sort of family ties that prompted the 33-year-old coach to turn down the Riders in favour of his current job with the Calgary Stampeders.

“My decision really came down to all the positives of my current position and how much I really enjoy it,” Mueller explained. “My family likes it here; my wife Jenaya and I just had another child, a young boy on Halloween, and we enjoy Calgary, and my daughter who is turning four enjoys Calgary. There’s lots of major positives and it’s nice to have a job where you truly enjoy going to work and truly enjoy the people you work with.”

Mueller is expected to continue as the quarterbacks coach in Calgary, a position he’s held for the past three years. The former University of Regina pivot has been with the Stampeders for a decade, rising through the ranks from a defensive assistant to running backs coach to now managing the signal-callers.

Viewed as one of the league’s most promising coaching minds, he interviewed for both the Riders’ offensive coordinator spot and the head coach job with the Ottawa Redblacks before ultimately deciding to stay put. A promotion — whether in Calgary or with another team — is almost inevitable, but Mueller is in no rush to leave a good situation.

“I think the most important part for anyone in whatever position they’re in in life is to make sure you still do a really good job with the position that you’re in,” he said. “If you start thinking of that overused code of be where your feet are, it’s true. Being present is true and the moment that you stop thinking and prioritizing where you actually are is when your current job fails and that’s when you really start to struggle.”

“My current position is just to be the best quarterbacks coach for the Stampeders and do my job to help us win. Whatever comes to that over time will come through but I enjoy coaching in the CFL. It was my dream as a little kid, so I’m just thankful every day that I get to go and work in the family business, so to say.”