Saskatchewan Roughriders hire Craig Dickenson as head coach
REGINA, Saskatchewan (AP) — Craig Dickenson joined younger brother Dave as a Canadian Football League head coach Friday, taking over the top spot with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
The 47-year-old Dickenson was promoted from special teams coordinator to replace Chris Jones, who resigned as head coach/GM/defensive coordinator and vice president of football operations Jan. 15 to join the NFL’s Cleveland Browns as an assistant.
“This was the perfect job at the perfect time with the perfect people and I couldn’t feel any better about who I’m going to work with,” Dickenson said.
Dave Dickenson is the coach of the Grey Cup champion Calgary Stampeders.
“I think it’s cool,” Dave Dickenson said. “Listen, there’s only so many of these head jobs and to have both of us doing it, obviously our parents should be proud. It shows they did a good job of getting us to where we wanted to get to.”
Craig Dickenson said he spoke to his brother about the Saskatchewan job.
“He said, ‘Go for it, it’s a good job,’” Craig Dickenson said. “When I told my dad the news, he was more excited than I expected so I think it means a lot to him. It’s going to be fun. We’ve competed our whole lives. Dave is very happy that I get this opportunity and I’m thrilled to be able to coach in the same league as my brother.”
The first-time head coach agreed to a three-year contract. He will remain special teams coordinator
Dickenson spent 16 seasons as a CFL assistant with Saskatchewan, Calgary, Montreal, Winnipeg and Edmonton, and also was a special teams coach with Oakland and San Diego in the NFL. From Great Falls, Montana, he was a kicker at the University of Montana. Dave Dickenson was a star quarterback at Montana and in the CFL.
“I’m biased, but I think he’s more than qualified,” Dave Dickenson said. “I think special teams coaches do a great job as head coaches because they already talk to the whole team. ... I think he might be as good a coach as I am, maybe better, but that doesn’t guarantee success. As a head coach, you’re dependent on your players and staff and you have to be the leader. But I don’t think Craig is going to have any problems because he’s a great communicator, a great teacher. He’s really good at setting expectations for people to follow his lead.”
The move was the team’s first since promoting Jeremy O’Day from assistant vice president of football operations and administration to GM and vice president of football operations.
“I have nothing but respect for him and can’t wait to go to war for him,” Saskatchewan defensive lineman Jordan Reaves tweeted.
The Roughriders were 12-6 in the regular season last year. They lost to Winnipeg in the West Division semifinal.