Tiger-Cats fire head coach Charlie Taaffe

{eot} Staff
9/8/2008 7:07:56 PM
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Head coach Charlie Taaffe has been fired by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and offensive co-ordinator Marcel Bellefeuille will take over the reigns on an interim basis for the rest of the season.

The announcement was made a news conference on Monday. The move comes on the heels of a 35-12 loss to the B.C. Lions at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

"This has not been an easy situation for me," said Tiger-Cats general manager Bob O'Billovich. "I'm not in favour of making a coaching change in the middle of the season but the more I looked at it, Charlie was not the right guy for the situation as it stands now."

At 2-8, the Tiger-Cats are tied with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for the worst record in the CFL. During Taaffe's tenure in Hamilton, the Tiger-Cats have won just five times in 28 contests.

After struggling to a 3-15 record last season, Taaffe was rumoured to be leaving for a position at the University of West Virginia despite his three-year contract with the Tiger-Cats. But he returned and the future looked bright with a new general manager in O'Billovich, a healthy Lumsden returning to the lineup and a full season with quarterback Casey Printers.

"I thought he deserved the opportunity to continue but I took all this under consideration and it wasn't easy to do," O'Billovich said when asked about the numbers of changes that occurred during Taaffe's short stay in Hamilton.

Taaffe came to Hamilton with some success in the CFL coaching ranks. In two years at the helm in Montreal, the Alouettes had a combined 24-12 regular season record and advanced to the 2000 Grey Cup Game. In both seasons, Taaffe was named CFL Coach of the Year.

He left the Alouettes to take the offensive coordinator's position with the Maryland Terrapins of the NCAA. He helped current San Franciso 49ers quarterback Shaun Hill rise to prominence in the college ranks.

"The firing is unfortunate but logical," said CFL on TSN analyst Chris Schultz. "It wasn't so much that they lost games but how they lost. And teams either respond to their coach or they don't."

Tiger-Cats kicker Nick Setta echoed Schultz's sentiment on Tuesday as a guest on Off the Record.

''He's a fantastic coach and fantastic guy, I love playing for him,'' Setta said. ''But we just haven't been able to win.''

Offensive lineman Marwan Hage, also a guest on OTR, backed the Tiger-Cats decision to relieve coach Taaffe of his duties.

''Yes, it was the right move to make,''Habe said. ''I just trust our organization and Mr. O'Billovich doing the right thing to get us wins right now.''

Bellefeuille joined the Tiger-Cats this season after two season as the offensive coordinator with the Alouettes. Prior to that, he spent five campaigns with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, including three years as the team's offensive coordinator.

And he may be the head man next season.

''Marcel is a bright, up-and-coming football mind, who is very capable of becoming a successful head coach in this league,'' O'Billovich added. "If I were to make a short list of candidates to interview to be head coach, Marcel would be on that list."


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