Danny Barrett will not return as head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders next season, the CFL club announced on Monday.
At a news conference at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, General Manager Eric Tillman said the team would not be renewing Barrett's expiring contract, ending Barrett's seven-year tenure with Saskatchewan.
"The decision that was made â¦ it's one I've come to accept," said Barrett, who owns a career coaching record of 57-68-1. "You don't always have to agree with things but you have to accept things in life."
Led by Barrett, the Roughriders endured a difficult season in 2006, culminating in a 45-18 loss to the B.C. Lions in the Western Division final.
It marked the third time in four years the Roughriders reached the Western Division championship. However, the team has posted only one winning season and has not held a home playoff game during Barrett's time behind the bench.
After the Western final loss on Nov. 12, Barrett, whose contract expires at the end of December, pegged his chances of returning in 2007 at "50-50."
Tillman wanted to move in new direction
Tillman said he did consider bringing back Barrett for one more season, but in the end felt that it was time to go in another direction.
"In the final analysis I had to take emotion out of the equation and look at the internal turmoil that this organization has faced the last couple of years â¦ I realized as much as I have affection and respect for Danny, that we had to either make a multi-year commitment or stabilize the ship."
Ithadbeen speculated that Tillman, who took over from the fired Roy Shivers in late August, had planned to make changes to the Roughriders coaching staff in the off-season.
At least publicly, Barrett had the support of his players, but many in the media had speculated that Tillman wanted to put a new stamp on the franchise.
Though Tillman did not name a replacement for Barrett at Monday's news conference, it's believed he's interested in hiring Kent Austin. The former Saskatchewan quarterback spent three seasons as the offensive co-ordinator for the Toronto Argonauts before being fired last August.