The Roughriders won’t be bringing home the Grey Cup but the head coach will be bringing home some hardware.
Chris Jones, the Riders head coach, general manager and vice-president of football operations, was named CFL Coach of the Year at an awards ceremony on Thursday night.
Jones coached his club to a 12-6 season, the best record since 2008. The Roughriders also hosted their first home playoff game since 2013.
Jones coached the team through a significant injury to starting quarterback Zach Collaros and was the coordinator of one of the league’s best defences which scored a franchise record 11 defensive touchdowns.
His defence was also home to two of the league’s best pass rushers: Charleston Hughes finished the season with 15 sacks, the best in the CFL and Willie Jefferson finished with 10, fifth in the league. The defence also forced the most two and outs, while the offence tied for the fewest sacks allowed.
The Roughriders have seen steady improvement since Jones took the helm in 2016. While he started with just five wins that year, in 2017 he improved their record to 10-8. The team crossed over to the east for the playoffs and narrowly missed going to the Grey Cup after losing to the Argonauts in the east final.
The award is voted on by members of the Football Reporters of Canada across the country as well as the league’s nine head coaches. Jones secured 41 of a possible 60 votes with Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell earning the other 19.
In his 3rd season with the @sskroughriders, Chris Jones led his team to their first home playoff game since 2013 and helped build a defence that scored the most touchdowns in franchise history (11) & tied for fewest sacks allowed. #CFLAwards
— CFL Communications (@CFL_PR) November 23, 2018