Kent Austin, recently named the offensive coordinator at Ole Miss, was honored today when he was named the Canadian Football League Coach of the Year.
In his first year as the head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and his first year as a head coach on any level, Austin led his team to the Grey Cup championship during the 2007 season.
"This acknowledgement of Kent's excellence is the culmination of a remarkable season. To put it in its truest perspective, most experts predicted we would finish last in Kent's first season as our head coach," said Saskatchewan General Manager, and Ole Miss alumnus, Eric Tillman, "Yet, several months later, we achieved not only the best regular season the Roughriders had experienced since 1970, with 12 wins, but, more importantly, we ran the table in the playoffs, winning only the third Grey Cup championship in our 97-year history.
"At every level our team reflected Kent's confidence, his character and his tremendous work ethic. A truly magical season just became even better with this well-deserved recognition for a first class individual who will always have a special place in Saskatchewan history."
Austin, who still hold several Ole Miss records from his quarterbacking days in the early 1980s, is a folk hero in Saskatchewan.
The last time the Roughriders had won the Grey Cup was 1989. Saskatchewan beat Hamilton, 43-40, and Kent - who was then the QB ofthe team - was MVP of the game, passing for 474 yards. Of the franchises three Grey Cup championships, Austin was MVP of one, and head coach in another.
"Kent is to Saskatchewan what Archie and Eli Manning are to Ole Miss," Tillman stated. "He's a football legend here."
Kent passed for 36,030 yards in his CFL career, ninth in league history. He is one of only three quarterbacks to pass for over 6,000 yards in a single season along with Doug Flutie and Warren Moon, who both went on to NFL stardom as well.
Kent was in Canada today to receive the award and could not be reached for comment.
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