Tough calls made

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:31 AM ET

The incoming owners of the Calgary Stampeders have long admired Ron Rooke and Matt Dunigan from afar.

But the group, fronted by Ted Hellard, John Forzani and Doug Mitchell, decided neither Rooke nor Dunigan had the experience to run a football team the way they wanted.

"We were after experience and the experience just wasn't there," Forzani said yesterday after firing both president Rooke and GM/head coach Dunigan.

"Both individuals were put into tough situations and they did a heck of a job here. Ron worked for 13 years for the Calgary Stampeders and did a bang-up job. When there was a lot of confusion here, he stepped up."

Rooke, a longtime Stampeders employee, was promoted to president last year. He hired Dunigan, even though the former star quarterback had no professional coaching or management experience.

"The same thing could be said about Matt. He was totally an icon in the CFL," Forzani said.

"I really admire him for his past experiences. He really played the game tough.

"He came here with a really tough mandate and without the resources necessary. Experience became a factor."

Although the new group would have liked to keep Rooke's marketing mind as an asset, demoting him just wasn't fair, Hellard said.

"We had discussions with Ron. It's very hard to be in a certain role with an organization and then to assume a different role," Hellard said. "But we couldn't find a man who gave more to the Stampeders organization."

Both Rooke and Dunigan had two years left on their contracts, which will be honoured by the new ownership group.

The Stampeders have called a news conference today when they will announce a new chain of command, starting with a president and director of football operations.


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