The Saskatchewan Roughriders have given general manager and head coach Chris Jones a one-year contract extension.
The deal will keep Jones, whose three-year deal was set to expire at the end of next season, with the club through the 2019 season. Jones also has the title of vice-president of football operations.
Front-office staffers Jeremy O'Day, John Murphy and Mike Davis have also agreed to two-year extensions to stay in Regina through 2019.
``It was important for our organization to create continuity within our football operations to build on the strong foundation that's been established,'' president and CEO Craig Reynolds said Tuesday in a statement. ``Chris is a proven winner and has surrounded himself with a valuable support system of experienced individuals.''
Hired by the Riders three years ago, Jones brought the team from last place in the West in 2016 to a division final appearance last month.
O'Day will remain in his role as assistant vice-president of football operations and administration while Murphy returns as assistant VP of football operations and player personnel and Davis stays on as manager of football administration.
For more information see the article below from Riders reporter Ian Hamilton.
Chris Jones has been rewarded for his rebuilding job.
Saskatchewan Roughriders president and CEO Craig Reynolds announced Tuesday that Jones — the CFL team’s vice-president of football operations, general manager and head coach — has signed a one-year contract extension that will keep him with the Roughriders through the 2019 season.
As a result, Jones will get to continue the process he started in December of 2015 when he initially joined the Roughriders.
“We’ve still got work left to do, so it’s good that we’re getting an opportunity to make an attempt to finish what we started,” said the 50-year-old product of South Pittsburg, Tenn.
“Nobody is over the last game yet, so it’s, ‘What can we all do a little bit better?’ If we all do something a little bit better, next year we host a playoff game instead of having to go on the road to play playoff games.”
Jones guided the Roughriders to a 10-8-0 regular-season record in 2017 — a five-win improvement over the previous season.
Saskatchewan finished fourth in the West Division and became the 10th team from the West since the crossover format was introduced in 1996 to compete in the East playoffs. The Roughriders beat the Ottawa Redblacks 31-20 in the East semifinal, but fell 25-21 to the Toronto Argonauts in the division final.
Toronto went on to beat the Calgary Stampeders 27-24 in the Grey Cup game.
The Roughriders’ loss to the Argos still eats at Jones.
“Every day,” he said. “Every time somebody says, ‘Hey! Good year,’ you don’t really say what you want to say. You play great defence the whole friggin’ night and you can’t get them off that last drive.”
Jones was hired in December of 2015, shortly after guiding the Edmonton Eskimos to the Grey Cup title.
Jones spent two seasons as Edmonton’s head coach, leading the Eskimos to a 26-10-0 regular-season record and berths in back-to-back West Division finals. He was a finalist for the CFL’s coach-of-the-year award following both of those campaigns.
Given control of the Roughriders’ football operations, Jones guided the team to a 5-13-0 record in 2016. It was the first time in his CFL coaching career that he missed the playoffs.
One year later, he led Saskatchewan to the East Division final.
Instead of waiting until the final year of his contract to sign an extension, Jones agreed to the deal now.
“When we came here, Craig said he wanted something that was sustainable,” Jones said. “Our board evidently feels that we did enough good things to try to make this thing sustainable and do it more than just next year.”
As a result, Jones gets to continue to try to build a winning team in front of a rabid fan base and in a new facility.
“This is what we wanted,” he said of working in Rider Nation. “People are talking about it at the coffee shop. They’re talking about it at dinner. It’s what matters. One of the reasons that we came here was for that experience.”
Jones began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Tennessee Tech University in 1995 and spent seven years in the NCAA before moving to the CFL in 2002. That year, he joined the Montreal Alouettes as their defensive line coach.
In 2003, he was named the Als’ defensive coordinator and held that title for five seasons. In 2008, he joined the Stampeders, with whom he spent four seasons as defensive coordinator and two as assistant director of player personnel.
In 2012, he joined the Argonauts and spent two seasons as their defensive coordinator and assistant general manager. In 2014, he left the Argos to become Edmonton’s head coach.
In 16 seasons as a CFL coach, Jones has coached in 13 division finals and seven Grey Cup games, and has won four Grey Cup rings.
The Roughriders also announced that Jeremy O’Day, John Murphy and Mike Davis have agreed to extensions that will keep them with the team through the 2019 campaign.
O’Day is entering his third season as Saskatchewan’s assistant vice-president of football operations and administration. He moved into the club’s front office in 2011 after spending 12 seasons as a Roughriders offensive lineman.
Murphy, the Roughriders’ assistant vice-president of football operations and player personnel, also is heading into his third season in Saskatchewan’s front office. It will be his 13th year in the CFL after stints in Calgary and Winnipeg.
Davis, who joined the Roughriders in September of 2016, returns as the team’s manager of football administration
“It was important for our organization to create continuity within our football operations to build on the strong foundation that has been established,” Reynolds said in a statement.
“Chris is a proven winner and has surrounded himself with a valuable support system of experienced individuals. Under their guidance, we look forward to our football team taking the next step on-field.”