As anticipated, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are bringing June Jones back. And that news will most certainly excite their large fan base.
— TicatsGang (@TicatsGang) December 4, 2017
June Jones coming back makes me a happy Ticat fan.
— Mike (@Mike_Ticats) December 4, 2017
— Asshat Eastern Clown (@JoshSmith_82) December 4, 2017
Vice-President of Football Operations Kent Austin announced Monday morning that Jones had signed for the 2018 season. Jones was brought in as an assistant coach to Austin beginning August 2 then took over reins on Aug. 24 when Austin removed himself from the position.
The Tiger-Cats were 0-8 when he became head coach and went 6-4 coming home, narrowly missing the playoffs.
Under Jones, Hamilton’s offence posted the CFL’s most points for (295), net offence (4,071 yards), passing yards (3,081), rushing yards (1,149), offensive touchdowns (28), rushing touchdowns (13), first downs (226) and were second in points for per game (29.5), all while turning the ball over just a league-low 13 times.
Defensively, Hamilton ranked first in rushing yards allowed per game (73.4), quarterback sacks (33), forced fumbles (13) and pass knock downs (38), and were second in interceptions (12) and net offence allowed per game (335.5 yards) over its last 10 games.
“I’m extremely excited to build on where we left off last season and ultimately continue working toward bringing a Grey Cup back to Hamilton,” Jones said in a statement released by the team. “I really felt an immediate connection with our players and this community when I arrived last season, and I’m grateful to Bob Young, Scott Mitchell and Kent Austin for this opportunity.”
Jones, 64, has been coaching since 1983 and is best known for powerful NCAA programs at the University of Hawaii and SMU. Usually considered a pass-first coach, he also has a strong history of developing a complementary running game and that trait helped Hamilton develop a better ground attack in the second half of the season. That, in turn, helped the offensive line gel and gave quarterback Jeremiah Masoli more options.
Under Jones, Masoli replaced starter Zach Collaros and Jones’ signing would indicate that the Tiger-Cats are interested in bringing back Masoli, who is a free agent. Collaros is under contract for one more year.
Masoli thrived under Jones, as did the offensive line, receivers Brandon Banks and Luke Tasker and new tailback Alex Green, especially after CJ Gable was traded to Edmonton in early October. The defence also made large statistical strides after Jones was made head coach.
“What June accomplished here as a head coach in the last half of the 2017 season was nothing short of remarkable,” Austin said in the press release.
Jones will talk to the media via conference call at 3:30 p.m. Monday.
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