Whoever has just won the Grey Cup, whatever the year, one thing is guaranteed. As the victors bask in the glory of their spoils and the losers ponder on what might have been, some CFL fan will be primed and ready to throw out on social media the perennial wistful cry of ‘Is it June yet?’
Whilst players and management around the league are moving on from the last season, fans are already thinking of the next one. In Hamilton that perennial question, ‘Is it June yet?’ has already been answered, just not in the usual way. Interim coach June Jones will lead the team no more. Instead fully anointed Head Coach June Jones will lead the team.
Kent Austin, Vice President of Football Operations of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, announced that June Jones will return as head coach of the football club in 2018. Jones joined the Tiger-Cats earlier in 2017 as Assistant Head Coach on August 2 before being named interim Head Coach on August 24.
Jones started his tenure with a bang, beating eventual Grey Cup winners Toronto 24-22 to dramatically snap an 8 game losing streak the Ti-Cats had opened the season with. Jones has long been associated with a pass first philosophy of football coaching and from that point of the season onward Hamilton went 6-4 whilst the Tiger-Cats offence posted the league’s most points for (295), passing yards (3,081), rushing yards (1,149), offensive touchdowns (28), and rushing touchdowns (13) over the same span.
Hamilton looked like a different team with Jones at the helm and his coaching style looks to fit well with the 3 down game.
Jones has a strong coaching pedigree with 13 seasons of NFL coaching experience and 16 years at the NCAA level. He was the head football coach at Southern Methodist University (SMU), where he served as head coach from 2008 to 2014. Jones was also the head coach at the University of Hawaii from 1999 to 2007. His coaching in the NFL includes a three-year stint as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons from 1994 to 1996 and a ten-game stint as interim head coach of the San Diego Chargers in 1998.
Austin is quoted on cfl.ca as saying “What June accomplished here as a head coach in the last half of the 2017 season was nothing short of remarkable,” …“He is a strong leader with high character and extensive football knowledge, and we know he will be relentless in his efforts to put a winning product on the field in pursuit of a Grey Cup.”
With a coach who has seemingly made such a good connection with his team Hamilton fans will be looking forwards to 2018 with a little more optimism and asking ‘Is it June for June and the team yet?’