Dickenson to return as Riders head coach despite disastrous 2022 season

REGINA — Craig Dickenson will return to helm the Saskatchewan Roughriders for a fifth straight season, but several members of his coaching staff are paying the price after the team spiralled out of the playoffs following a season-ending seven-game losing streak.

The Roughriders fired offensive coordinator Jason Maas on Tuesday and said run game coordinator and offensive line coach Stephen Sorrells and receivers coach Travis Moore will not have their contracts renewed.

Saskatchewan finished fourth in the CFL West this season with a 6-12 record. Their losing skid, combined with a four-game winning streak by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (8-10), ensured Saskatchewan would not be able to cross over and take the third and final playoff spot in the East Division.

That ended the Roughriders' run of four straight playoff appearances and ended any chance of Saskatchewan being able to compete for a Grey Cup in front of its home fans this November.

The Roughriders opened this season 4-1, but didn't put together any back-to-back wins after that.

Dickenson took over behind the bench on Jan. 19, 2019. The Roughriders have had regular-season success under the 52-year-old from Great Falls, Mont., — finishing first in the West Division for the first time a decade in his debut season — but failed to advance to a Grey Cup. Saskatchewan lost the previous two West Division finals to eventual Grey Cup champion Winnipeg.

“Craig is an excellent coach, a strong leader and truly represents the values of the Saskatchewan Roughrider football club,” executive Jeremy O’Day said in a release. "Throughout his last four seasons I have watched as he worked hard to bring out the best in our players on the field and off the field. I know he is committed as I am to bring a championship calibre team to the field in 2023."

O’Day will also return for his 25th season with the Roughriders, and fifth year as VP of football operations and general manager.

Both Dickenson and O’Day are under contract through the 2023 season.

The Roughriders went 13-5 in Dickenson's first season in 2019, directly advancing to the West final before losing 20-13 to the Blue Bombers.

Saskatchewan went 9-5 in 2021, beating the Calgary Stampeders — coached by Dickenson's younger brother Dave — 33-30 in overtime before a 21-17 loss to Winnipeg in the division final.

The 2020 season was cancelled because of COVID-19.

Dickenson was Saskatchewan's special teams coordinator before his promotion to head coach in 2019. He also worked with Saskatchewan's special teams in 2011-12.

Dickenson has also served on the coaching staffs of Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Montreal during his 20 years in the CFL.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 1, 2022.

The Canadian Press