The Hamilton Tiger-Cats re-signed head coach Ron Lancaster to a three-year deal on Monday.

It was uncertain whether Lancaster, who has been Hamilton's head coach for five seasons, would return when his current contract expired on Dec. 31.

"I haven't lost any of that competitive edge," said Lancaster, 64. "Sometimes, I wish I could lose some of it.

"On the other hand, if you're going to keep score, you need to win."

Last season, the Tiger-Cats finished with a losing record for the first time since Lancaster's arrival as free agency, the Ottawa Renegades expansion draft, retirement, injuries and NFL recruitment ravaged their roster.

Lancaster was also criticized for firing defensive co-ordinator Don Sutherin and sticking with aging Danny McManus at quarterback.

But Tiger-Cats co-owners George Grant and David Macdonald have promised to provide him with the resources necessary to win.

"We, obviously, want to make it as easy as possible for him to have a winning team," Grant said. "And from that standpoint, we've told him we want him to aggressively pursue free agency and, from that standpoint, build the best possible football team he possibly can."

"We're not going to stand back and get picked off like we have in other years," Macdonald added. "We're supposed to have a salary cap, so we're going to work within the spirit of that.

"But Ron's going to get whatever free agents he needs to get to win."

"They've made it clear they want to see this franchise at the top and I think we agree on that," Lancaster said. "They agree that we do have to sign our players.

"They understand that the name of the game is to win and we all have to be held accountable for that."

Lancaster has a 50-39-1 record in Hamilton.

He led the Ticats to a Grey Cup in 1999 and was named CFL coach of the year in 1998.

The 2003 season will be Lancaster's 15th as a CFL head coach.

He has also coached in Saskatchewan (1979-80) and Edmonton (1991-97).