Stamps confirm Jones T.O. move

Defensive coach Chris Jones is moving back to the Big Smoke. (LYLE ASPINALL/QMI Agency

Defensive coach Chris Jones is moving back to the Big Smoke. (LYLE ASPINALL/QMI Agency

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:17 PM ET

CALGARY - It’s no secret this will be an off-season of change at McMahon Stadium.

This is one move that Calgary Stampeders boss John Hufnagel wasn’t expecting.

Soon after the Toronto Argonauts finally get around to introducing Scott Milanovich as their new head coach Thursday, they’re expected to also announce Chris Jones is joining the Boatmen after four seasons as the Stamps’ defensive co-ordinator.

At least, that what Jones told his former employer.

“Chris informed me yesterday that he’ll be moving on to Toronto,” Hufnagel told reporters Wednesday at McMahon Stadium. “I’m very surprised. I had no forewarning of it.”

The coaching carousel spins every off-season, but moves usually come with at least a bit of forewarning.

That’s because it’s standard practice for a team to ask permission to chat with an already-employed coach.

Apparently, it didn’t happen in this case.

“If they had contacted me, I wouldn’t be so surprised,” Hufnagel said.

“I’m not pleased with the way it came down.”

TSN’s Dave Naylor reported Wednesday night the Stamps have complained to the league about situation.

A few hours after Hufnagel addressed the media at McMahon Stadium, the Argonauts issued a statement confirming they hadn’t requested permission to talk to Jones. In fact, they denied they’ve struck a deal with him.

“The Toronto Argonauts did not request permission from the Calgary Stampeders to talk to Chris Jones,” the team said.

“Chris Jones was under contract to the Stampeders. As such, the Argonauts did not believe him to be available for discussion. He does not have a contract with the Toronto Argonauts.”

Question is, how long will that last?

Milanovich, who has been the Montreal Alouettes’ offensive co-ordinator for four years, will officially be hired Thursday.

Jim Barker is expected to switch his focus to player personnel, while Alouettes receivers coach Marcus Brady has been offered the job as offensive co-ordinator.

With Jones packing up his belongings, the Stamps aren’t the only CFL team with an open office.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are interviewing candidates for head coach, while the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are also on the prowl after Wednesday’s surprise firing of Marcel Bellefeuille.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have a vacancy for a new offensive co-ordinator, while the B.C. Lions are awaiting word on whether Wally Buono will continue to coach after sipping from the Grey Cup last weekend.

Jones has doubled as Calgary’s assistant player personnel director for the past two years and was scheduled to oversee several off-season free-agent camps. Running backs coach Mike Gibson will help fill that void, at least in the short term.

Hufnagel plans to chat with current linebackers boss Dave Walkosky — a former head coach and defensive co-ordinator in the U.S. college ranks — about Jones’ old position and will also interview candidates from outside the organization.

Hufnagel will keep tabs on the status of current Tiger-Cats defensive co-ordinator Corey Chamblin, although the former Stamps defensive backs coach is a frontrunner to become the Roughriders’ next head man and will also likely be a candidate in Hamilton.

Greg Marshall, whose stint on Saskatchewan’s sideline lasted only eight games — including seven losses — before he was fired in mid-August, is also a defensive specialist and could be a possible fit in Calgary.

“I want a very knowledgeable co-ordinator, one that has a good rapport with the players and with his coaching staff. I want to see a co-ordinator that can maximize the talent of his players,” Hufnagel said. “(I’m looking for) a lot of traits that Chris Jones possesses. I think Chris has done an excellent job for the Calgary Stampeders.

“I’m very thankful for the years that we were together and the job that he did for us.”


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