Tony Lindsay’s 13-year stint as a member of the Okanagan Sun coaching staff is over.
The B.C. Football Conference club this week relieved Lindsay of his duties as the Sun’s offensive coordinator, a position he was promoted to at the start of the 2009 season.
First-year head coach Jason Casey chose to make the change soon after the Sun’s 33-20 loss to the Vancouver Island Raiders Saturday in Nanaimo, a game in which the Sun was outscored 19-3 in the second half.
“We needed to move in a new direction,” said Casey. “The Vancouver Island loss was certainly predominant in the decision. They ran and passed on us and we also need to do both well to be a contender.”
The Sun passed for 249 yards in the loss, but managed just 34 yards rushing on 12 carries.
Casey wants to see a more diversified and dangerous Sun attack.
“You have to be able to run the football,” he said. “I’m looking for an offense that’s going to use our big O-line, use our running backs and our receivers, all to the best of their abilities. We haven’t seen yet what this offense is capable of.”
As of Wednesday noon, there was no official word on who would be replacing Lindsay as the team’s new offensive coordinator.
For Casey, it was a difficult decision to part ways with Lindsay.
“It was gut-wrenching to contemplate a split, I’m friends with Tony,” said Casey. “It’s not going to please everyone, but you do what you think will benefit the football team. I joked that it would have been a lot easier if we didn’t get along, but we do, so it was tough.”
Lindsay played for the Sun from 1989 to 1991. Beginning in 1999, he served on the coaching staff for 12 1/2 seasons which included time as the receivers and kickers coach. His father, Bob Lindsay, was a longtime president of the team and currently sits on the Sun’s board of directors.
Lindsay, whose son Cole is a player on the 2011 Sun, said he harbors no ill feelings towards anyone on the team he has been associated with for most of his life.
“They’re all friends of mine,” Lindsay, 41, said of the current members of the Sun organization. “That’s the business of sports and sometimes things like this happen. People lose their jobs all the time. I’m going to stay friends with those people and continue to support the team like I always have. I’ll still go to the games, but I’ll be a dad instead of a coach.
“It’s a long time to be on a coaching staff,” he added. “Some fresh blood won’t hurt.”
Sun president Bill Long, who himself was released from his duties as the team’s offensive coordinator back in 1998, said Tony Lindsay has been a loyal and dedicated member of the Sun.
“I’m proud of what Tony’s done for the team,” said Long. “To be around in this league and serve as long as he has is pretty rare.
“Sometimes things don’t seem to make sense when they happen, but you have to believe it’s for the best and move on. The head coach felt it was in the best interest of the team.”
The Sun (4-1) have this weekend off before returning to action Sept. 11 at home to the Chilliwack Huskers.