'I've had a great run'

Ron Rooke is picking up the pieces after he was relieved of his duties as Calgary Stampeders...

Ron Rooke is picking up the pieces after he was relieved of his duties as Calgary Stampeders president and CEO yesterday. Rooke has been with the team since 1991 and has been a fan for life. (Calgary Sun File Photo)

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:42 AM ET

Exactly two years after Wally Buono was forced out of the Calgary Stampeders organization, Ron Rooke was quoting his old boss.

"When one door closes, another opens," the former Stamps president mused yesterday after being fired by the team's new ownership group.

"Things always happen for a reason. Two years ago today was Wally's last day and we were always the common denominator.

"Nobody else may care but, for me, sharing success with Wally on and off the field was important. A lot of people left but Wally and I were there a long time. For it to come today..."

Before assuming the role of Stamps president in October 2003, Rooke had been recognized throughout the CFL as a marketing genius.

Needless to say, his 14-month presidency was considerably less successful.

The natural assumption is he will soon be offered a marketing position with Buono's B.C. Lions, something the 46-year-old Rooke hasn't ruled out.

"I can't comment on any of that right now because of the (buyout) package we're working on right now," Rooke said referring to discussions he's had with Ted Hellard and John Forzani of the Stampeders' new ownership team.

Rooke was hired by the Stamps just prior to the 1991 Grey Cup game after spending a few years in the old Calgary Cannons sales department.

"I had a great run with the Calgary Stampeders," said Rooke, whose team won just four games under Matt Dunigan, the inexperienced GM/head coach Rooke hired a year ago.

"I look back to 1991 and where we were, certainly the glory years were just starting.

"I walked away as one of seven people within the organization to have three Grey Cup rings and a lot of memories and a lot of great times."

While Rooke is uncertain what the future holds, his 88-year-old father Doug will remain a fixture around McMahon Stadium.

Rooke said his father has been offered a chance to stay on as a special assistant, an ambassador for the franchise, a position he's held since 1995.

Meantime, Ron Rooke's long association with minor football in Calgary will continue as he's accepted an offer to help out with the Cowboys midget team.

"What am I going to do?" Rooke wondered aloud.

"I have absolutely no idea.

"Last time I applied for a job was 1985 with the Cannons.

"(Former Stamps owner) Larry Ryckman brought me over to the Stampeders, so it's been a long time.

"I have no idea. I really don't know. I'm going to take some time, see what options are out there and see what happens."

Although there are many career options available, Rooke said nothing will compare to working with the team he has cheered for since childhood.

"This is a passion," Rooke said. "There's jobs out there but this is a passion."

After relating a story about his father buying red and white cars for the family in the 1960s as a show of loyalty for the Stampeders, Rooke admitted he has been dealt a blow by yesterday's announcement.

"Yeah, it's very emotional," Rooke said, his voice cracking.

"You celebrate so many highs and lows, your family cries with you through the bad times and yeah ... it's emotional."


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