Wednesday 10 December 2014

The Steinauer Situation Shows Why We Don't Jump to Conclusions

Orlondo Steinauer will not be the next head coach of the BC Lions.

For Tiger-Cat fans this is great news. Steinauer really grew into his role in his second year in Hamilton, producing the league’s best rushing defense and turning the team into a turnover-forcing machine. Another year of experience should make the defense even better in 2015.

But apparently there are some who are irked as to why Steinauer is not in consideration for the Lions head coaching gig: namely, that when the Lions called to ask permission to speak to Steinauer, the team did not make him available.

Under normal circumstances, this would be worrisome. It is very rare for a team to deny one of their assistants a chance to move up in the coaching ranks. I cannot think of one instance where this has happened (if you do recall one, please correct me in the comment section).

However, after some excellent newsgathering by Drew Edwards, we find out that things aren’t so cut and dry as they seem. Here are the two most important pieces of information we found out thanks to Drew’s work:
  1. Steinauer signed a long-term contract extension with the team this season that will keep him with the Ti-Cats until 2016
  2. The extension came with a no-movement clause
So while some were quick to rip the team, the front office, the coach, and pretty much anyone associated with the Tiger-Cats, it seems as if this is more complex than just the team saying no. Steinauer signed this new deal knowing full well what it entailed. He gained stability at the expense of being able to advance. He knew the trade-off when he signed and it seems as if he thought stability mattered more.

Head coaching opportunities are going to continue to come Steinauer’s way if he consistently performs like he has in his first two seasons with the Tiger-Cats. While I know that one day he will likely be a head coach of one of the other teams, I am glad that he will be sticking around for a little while longer.

Also, I have seen some Ti-Cat fans posit that the Cats are setting up a “Calgary situation” where Steinauer will stick around here as the team’s defensive coordinator until Kent Austin is ready to hand the reigns over to him ala John Hufnagel and Dave Dickenson. While that seems reasonable, here is why I don’t think that is what is happening: Kent Austin is 51, John Hufnagel is 63. I don’t see Austin leaving the sideline anytime soon. So while I grant that it is possible, I don’t see it as probable.

So while some killed the Tiger-Cats in the hours after the initial news broke, it sure looks like no one did anything underhanded. So perhaps the next time we hear rumours about how teams are behaving, maybe we should just take a deep breath and wait for the facts to come out before we start jumping to conclusions.

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