Greg Marshall has been fired as head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
In a prepared release Monday (July 10), team owner Bob Young said the “very, very tough decision,” was made because “it was in the best interest of the organization to make a change.”
In announcing Marshall’s axing, Young said that Canadian Football League legend Ron Lancaster, the team’s senior director of football operations, will take on head coaching duties in an interim role.
While relieving Marshall of his coaching responsibilities, Young lauded his efforts.
“His contributions to the organization, the Hamilton community and to our fans can not be understated. I have great admiration and respect for Greg but after careful consideration it was in the best interest of the organization to make a change. Ron and assistant head coach Joe Paopao will have a full-set of resources to improve our success on the field.”
Marshall’s dismissal follows rumblings of dissatisfaction with the team’s performance in the early goings of the CFL. The team is off to an 0-4 start in Marshall’s third season as the bench boss.
Marshall left a successful coaching career at the Ontario University Athletics and Canadian Interuniversity Sports levels where he coached the McMaster Marauders and was named the CIS coach of the year. In his first CFL coaching season, he guided the Ticats to a 9-8-1 record. The previous year they won one game in 18 outings.
The CFL made Marshall its coach of the year and he became the first rookie mentor to win the honour. But in 2005 the Cats posted a disappointing 5-13 record and were back in the league basement. Several off-season acquisitions gave indications the club would be a contender once again but going winless in four tries sealed Marshall’s fate.
Lancaster now finds himself in a familiar role. This is his second stint as head coach of the Tabbies. The two-time coach of the year is the fourth winningest CFL coach in history with 138 wins including two Grey Cup victories. In his first stint with the Tiger-Cats, Hamilton finished five of the six seasons .500 or better including a 1999 Grey Cup victory.
“I hope my years of experience can help deliver the leadership necessary to help benefit the club in its current situation,” said Lancaster. “I will assume the position of head coach for the remainder of the season or step down as soon as the right person is found.”
The franchise will now begin a comprehensive search for the next head coach.
“No one in our organization is happy with how the season has started and we all accept responsibility for our performance,” said general manager Rob Katz. “We’re fortunate to have a guy that’s as qualified and respected as Ron Lancaster. We feel his extensive knowledge of the current team and the ability to work closely with Joe (Paopao) and Kavis (Reed) will get this football team back on track competing for a playoff spot while we look for a long-term solution.”