REGINA — Corey Chamblin is going green.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders introduced the 34-year-old as their new head coach Thursday, and it didn’t take long for him to embrace the team’s colours.
“I was told it looks good on me,” he said with a smile as he sported a tie emblazoned with the Riders logo.
“And I can tell you it feels real good on me.”
The second time was the charm for Chamblin when it came to the Riders’ top job.
He was a candidate for the post following the 2010 season but the job ultimately went to Greg Marshall, who was then the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ defensive co-ordinator. Chamblin in turn took over for Marshall on the defensive side of the ball in Hamilton this past season.
Marshall was fired by Saskatchewan after a disastrous 1-7 start to the 2011 campaign. The Riders replaced him on an interim basis by vice-president of football operations Ken Miller.
But Miller announced his retirement following the season, with general manager Brendan Taman also taking over the club’s football operations.
The announcement of Chamblin’s hiring came approximately 48 hours after former Saskatchewan head coach Kent Austin informed the Riders he would be staying at Cornell University.
Austin, who quarterbacked Saskatchewan to a Grey Cup victory in 1989 and led the team to another championship as head coach in 2007, was believed to be the leading candidate.
Ironically, Chamblin was Taman’s choice last season, but the team went with Marshall.
The Riders (5-13) finished fourth in the West Division and failed to qualify for the playoffs after back-to-back appearances in the Grey Cup.
This time around, Taman was told the choice of head coach was his to make, and he once again went with Chamblin.
“I just pinpointed the guy I wanted and got it done,” said Taman, who seemed impressed most of all by Chamblin’s youthful enthusiasm and his strong desire to coach in Saskatchewan.
The Birmingham, Ala., native sees similarities in the two football environments.
“This feels like home to me,” Chamblin said.
“It’s about football, and that’s what I’m used to.”
Chamblin arrived in the CFL in 2007 as an assistant coach swith the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and spent the next two seasons in Calgary, winning the Grey Cup with the Stampeders in 2008.
Prior to joining the CFL, Chamblin coached in NFL Europe with the 2006 World Bowl champion Frankfurt Galaxy.
That same season, he completed a coaching internship with the NFL’s Washington Redskins.
A former defensive back, Chamblin played college football at Tennessee Tech and then bounced around the NFL from 1999 through 2004 with Baltimore, Jacksonville, Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Denver and Indianapolis.
Chamblin envisions a Roughriders team that will be “disciplined, fast and aggressive” in all three phases of the game.
His first order of business will be to assemble a coaching staff that will consist of individuals who have a strong work ethic and show respect for their players.
Taman wouldn’t discuss the details of Chamblin’s contract, other than to say it was: “enough to get him here.”