Edmonton Elks fire president, GM and head coach after ‘incredibly difficult’ season

November 22, 2021
Edmonton Elks fire CEO, GM and head coach
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The Edmonton Elks cleaned house Monday, firing its team president, general manager and head coach.

The football club’s board of directors terminated the contracts of president and CEO Chris Presson, general manager and vice-president of football operations Brock Sunderland and head coach Jaime Elizondo, effective immediately, the Elks said in a news release.

A news conference is set for 1:30 p.m. MT.

“The past 18 months have been an exceptionally challenging time for our organization, but none more so than for its fans, season seat holders and the community,” the release said.

The team won only three of its 14 games this season, with none of the wins coming in front of fans at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.

“After considerable discussion and consideration, the board of directors determined that major changes at the senior leadership level were needed to improve performance and rebuild the trust and confidence of Elks fans, season seat holders and the community,” Ian Murray, chair of the board of directors, said in the release.

The board is searching for a new CEO, which it hopes to have in place by the end of January, and general manger to be named before the end of 2021 so the team is prepared for the beginning of free agency in February.

“We are determined to give this community the competitive team long-time loyal fans have been accustomed to throughout this proud franchise’s history,” said Allan Watt, the team’s executive director of marketing, who has been named interim chief operating officer.

The club said it will also begin meeting with fans, season seat holders and other stakeholders to rebuild the team on and off the field for the 2022 season, Watt said.

The board has hired long-time CFL player, coach, GM and executive Wally Buono to consult and advise the club in hiring a new general manager, the release said.

‘Incredibly difficult season,’ Sunderland said Sunday

At a news conference Sunday, Sunderland looked back on the season which saw coaching changes, COVID-19 outbreaks, players who had off years and many close games that turned into losses.

“It’s been an incredibly difficult season,” he told reporters. “I think we had enough issues and drama and obstacles this year that most times span the length of five years.”

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