The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are thrilled to announce that Kent Austin has been hired as the team’s Vice President of Football Operations, General Manager and Head Coach.
Austin returns to the Canadian Football League after most recently spending three seasons as the head coach at Cornell University and two seasons as offensive coordinator at Ole Miss.
This marks Austin’s second tenure as a head coach in the CFL, with his previous stint taking place with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2007. That year, Austin was named the CFL’s Coach of the Year after leading the Riders to a 12-6 record and their first Grey Cup championship in 18 years.
"We are extremely excited to announce Kent Austin as our lead football executive and head coach. Kent brings a combination of expertise and leadership with a track record of success that we feel makes him perfect fit for our organization. It’s a tremendous day in TigerTown,” said President Scott Mitchell.
Austin led a revival of Cornell’s football program that saw the Big Red establish new school records in 11 categories and register eight consecutive contests with at least 24 points for the first time in school history. In 2011, quarterback Jeff Mathews became the first sophomore to earn the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year while setting two Ivy League records and six Cornell records.
At Ole Miss, the Rebels offence averaged an impressive 30.8 points and 405 yards per game under Austin’s watch. Ole Miss posted a record of 18-8 and twice won the Cotton Bowl in his two seasons - the first time the school posted consecutive bowl victories since 1961.
Austin’s coaching pedigree also includes stints with as quarterbacks coach with the Ottawa Renegades in 2003 and offensive coordinator with the Toronto Argonauts from 2004 to 2006. During Austin’s time with Toronto, the Argos captured a Grey Cup championship in 2004 and quarterback Damon Allen earned the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player award in 2005.
“I am honoured to join the Hamilton Tiger-Cats organization. There are a lot of reasons to be excited about this opportunity, namely the strong ownership in place, a very passionate group of fans behind us and the chance for immediate success. I can’t wait to begin working on our goal of bringing another Grey Cup championship to the city of Hamilton,” said Austin.
As a player, Austin enjoyed a successful 11-year pro career at quarterback. After one year with the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals, he joined the CFL where he established himself as one of the league’s top pivots, amassing the 11th most passing yards (36,030) and third-best completion percentage (.576) in league history with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, BC Lions, Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.