December 7, 2015 3:26 pm
Updated: December 8, 2015 5:02 pm

Roughriders hire Grey Cup-winning coach Chris Jones

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REGINA – Chris Jones comes from the southern United States, where football is a religion. He sees the same dedication to the sport in his new CFL home.

Jones was introduced Monday as the new head coach, general manager and vice-president of football operations of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, ending weeks of speculation about the Grey Cup winning coach’s future.

Jones, who led the Edmonton Eskimos to a CFL championship this season, said he’s looking forward to working in Regina, which boasts a fervent CFL fan base.

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“I’m from a little town in Tennessee called South Pittsburg, and to have this opportunity, I woke up this morning with a smile on my face,” Jones said.

“Football matters a whole lot down south, and it means a whole lot here, and that hinged a lot on my decision.”

Jones will have his work cut out for him, inheriting a Roughriders team that struggled mightily last season en route to a league-worst 3-15 record.

However, he has already demonstrated his ability to turn around a troubled team. The Eskimos had just posted a 4-14 record when Jones took over after the 2013 season. Two years later, they defeated the Ottawa Redblacks 26-20 to win their first Grey Cup title in a decade.

Jones has had success at each of his CFL stops since entering the league in 2002 as a defensive line coach with the Montreal Alouettes. After the Alouettes won the Grey Cup in 2002, he was defensive co-ordinator Calgary’s championship-winning team in 2008, and defensive co-ordinator, assistant head coach and assistant GM of Toronto’s Grey Cup team in 2012.

Eskimos Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Ed Hervey issues the following statement regarding the hire of former Eskimos head coach Chris Jones in Saskatchewan.

“I thank Chris Jones for his work over the last two seasons. This is an opportunity for him to grow professionally and I wish him well in his future endeavours.

Saskatchewan spent half of last season with interim tags on both its head coach and GM after the organization fired coach Corey Chamblin and GM Brendan Taman in September.

The Riders opened their season under Chamblin and Taman with an 0-9 record. They finished last in the league at 3-15.

Below is the full press conference with Riders new General Manager and Head Coach Chris Jones

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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