Stamps sack Buratto

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:05 PM ET

With Steve Buratto and his complex offensive system sacked yesterday, the Calgary Stampeders have made a commitment to their head coach and starting quarterback.

In what is termed a unanimous decision between the executive committee -- John Forzani, Ted Hellard, Doug Mitchell -- and head coach Tom Higgins, the Stamps felt quarterback Henry Burris wouldn't be able to take the next step with Buratto as the offensive co-ordinator.

"We're at a point where winning is very important and a change needed to made," said Higgins. "We can say a lot of glowing things about Steve but our future just didn't include him."

"But I don't anticipate any more changes."

The new Stamps offensive co-ordinator will have to mesh with Higgins because he will return for this third season as the bench boss with the Stamps.

"There's is no question about it," said Hellard. "That was a media story. It didn't come from me. We never hinted he wouldn't be the coach. Tom is definitely the head coach."

The Stamps now enter a hot market to find a new offensive co-ordinator, although president Ted Hellard didn't rule out promoting someone in the organization.

GM Jim Barker and quarterbacks and receivers coach Bill Diedrick are both qualified for the position, while there will be plenty of candidates with CFL experience available depending on what other teams decide to do.

If the Saskatchewan Roughriders make coaching changes after their playoff run, offensive line coach George Cortez would be a prime candidate for a co-ordinator position in Calgary, the same position he held for the 2001 Grey Cup.

The Roughies current co-ordinator, Tommy Condell, would also be a good hire, while head coach Danny Barrett did well coaching Burris in Saskatchewan and could be considered.

Another possible candidate is Montreal Alouettes offensive co-ordinator Kevin Strasser, who could be available depending on who takes over as head coach there.

"We would be open to all possibilities," said Higgins. "We won't rule out anything. The sky is the limit.

"We're not putting any restrictions on who the next person will be. But I don't foresee us filling this position within a matter of days."

Higgins delivered the news to Buratto yesterday and said his old friend was surprised but took it well.

The relationship between the two coaches goes back to the early 1980s when they were both assistants with the Roughriders.

So relieving his friend of his duties wasn't exactly something Higgins took pleasure in.

"Steve did everything he was asked to do," Higgins said.

"It really is about moving forward and taking the next step. There won't be any mudslinging.

"This is a very good friend of mine. He will continue to be a friend of mine. It's about looking forward."


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