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Naylor: Signs point to Austin as new Ticats GM/Coach

Dave Naylor

12/14/2012 11:09:12 PM

Many people around the Canadian Football League are convinced it's only a matter of days until Kent Austin is announced as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats new head coach and general manager.

The reasons?

Well, you can start with the timing of the firing of George Cortez, their former head coach and director of football operations. He wasn't dismissed until nearly six weeks after Hamilton's season ended, which suggests the Tiger-Cats were intending to keep him.

It's believed their thinking may have changed once they learned someone they liked better was interested - someone like Kent Austin, currently the head coach at Cornell University whom they pursued a year ago, before hiring Cortez.

Beginning a search for a new general manager in mid-December is something no CFL team would want to do - unless they knew exactly who they were going to hire. Which may just be the case in Hamilon.

It's worth noting that Austin - who left the CFL five years ago after leading the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a 2007 Grey Cup win - was in Toronto during Grey Cup week.
 
Hamilton president Scott Mitchell has close ties to Austin's agent - Gil Scott - having been his business partner before taking over the Ticats. So it's certainly possible the groundwork for a deal could have been laid before Cortez's firing.

Ivy League head coaching jobs such as Cornell's are worth in the range of $350-$400 thousand dollars per season, a figure the Ticats would certainly be able to approach by offering him both the head coach and general manager titles.
 
Austin has said nothing publicly on the matter and the Ticats refuse to comment on the speculation.

But it will surprise no one if he appears underneath the Tiger-Cats Christmas tree later this month.