Riders’ Ken Miller stepping down
REGINA — Ken Miller will step down as the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ head coach and vicepresident of football operations after the 2011 CFL season.
The Roughriders, whose 5-12 slate ties them with the Toronto Argonauts for the league’s worst record, made the announcement before Monday’s practice. Miller’s final appearance as head coach will be Friday when the Roughriders play the Edmonton Eskimos at Commonwealth Stadium.
“There comes a time when you just have to make decisions that are best for yourself and for your family and for the organization,’’ Miller, 70, said Monday. “I think I’ve done that.’’
Miller said he considered making the announcement after the season had concluded. He accelerated the process to ensure he was able to tell the players and coaches of his decision.
“There wasn’t any way to talk to the players and have this last until Nov. 9,’’ said Miller, who has a year remaining on his contract. “Between now and then there are a lot activities in the province. Right now, this was the best and most opportune time to make the announcement.’’
Many of the players were told of Miller’s decision before Monday’s practice.
“He holds a special place in my heart and means so much to me,’’ quarterback Darian Durant said. “He gave me my first shot and he stuck with me throughout that time. He has allowed myself and this team to go places where it hasn’t been before. He will be missed around here.’’
Brendan Taman remains as the team’s general manager, reporting to the vice-president of football operations. Jim Hopson, president and CEO of the Roughriders, said there would be more announcements next week regarding the team’s plans for pursing a head coach and organizing the football operations department.
“This is another move by Ken to help the organization position itself for next year,’’ Hopson said. ‘’Ken and I talked about some of the good young players we saw on the weekend and there is a good core here. Ken wants to ensure this team continues to be one of the best in the league and he’s helping us by making that decision early. This allows us to move forward.’’
Miller joined the Roughriders in 2007 as offensive co-ordinator. The Roughriders capped that season by winning the third Grey Cup in franchise history.
Kent Austin resigned as head coach in January 2008 to become the offensive co-ordinator at his alma mater, the University of Mississippi. He was succeeded by Miller, who went on to become a coach-of-the-year finalist for three consecutive seasons — including 2009 and 2010, during which the Roughriders suffered heartbreaking Grey Cup losses to the Montreal Alouettes.