January 5, 2012

Stubler leaves Esks; joins Lions in B.C.


EDMONTON — It didn’t take long for Rich Stubler to find a new job.

Just hours after the Edmonton Eskimos announced that Stubler won’t be returning next year as the team’s defensive co-ordinator, the B.C. Lions said Thursday he would be joining their staff in the same position.

“Rich brings a tremendous amount of experience and success to our club and I am very pleased he has accepted the position of defensive coordinator,” said Lions head coach Mike Benevides in a statement.

This is the third time Stubler has been a member of B.C.’s coaching staff. He was the Lions’ defensive line coach in 2010 and the team’s defensive coordinator in 2000, when B.C. won the Grey Cup.

“I’m excited to return to the Lions and work with Mike,” said Stubler. “Clearly, they established themselves as a dominant team on defence last season, and I am fortunate to inherit both a terrific staff and some of the league’s best defensive performers.”

Under Stubler’s guidance, Edmonton finished second in the CFL in fewest points allowed (22.3 per game). The Eskimos’ defence helped the club finish tied with B.C. and Calgary atop the West Division standings with an 11-7 record.

“Rich chose not to sign a new contract and informed us he’s looking to pursue other opportunities,” said Edmonton head coach Kavis Reed said in a statement. “He was instrumental is shaping a group of young players into one of the CFL’s best defences and we thank coach Stubler for his contributions.”

The Eskimos defeated Calgary 33-19 in the Division Semi-Final before losing 40-23 to B.C. in the Western Final.

Last season marked Stubler’s third stint with Edmonton (1991- ’95, 1998- ’99 and 2011).