Edmonton Elks clean house: Presson, Sunderland and Elizondo fired after dismal football season

After one of their worst seasons in decades, the Edmonton Elks have fired the head coach and top office bosses.

Effective immediately, the contracts have been terminated for president and CEO Chris Presson, general manager and vice president of football operations Brock Sunderland and head coach Jaime Elizondo, the Board of Directors of the Edmonton Elks Football Club announced Monday.

A news conference will be held at 1:30 p.m. MT. Global News will livestream it in the video player at the top of this story.

On radio, Morley Scott and Dave Campbell will also be going live with special coverage on 630 CHED.

The news came after 3-11 season which saw the Elks finish in last place in the overall standings.

Read more:
Elks look back on a season which fell way short of expectations

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A news release from Board of Directors chair Ian Murray said it was determined 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.

“I would like to thank Chris (Presson) for his commitment to the Elks and wish him well in his future endeavours. Chris has been a very hard working and respected leader for our organization through some very difficult times,” Murray said.

“Brock (Sunderland ) has been with the Club since 2017 and a committed member of the CFL since 2004, while Jaime (elizondo) was in his first season as a head coach and I know he cares deeply about the team.

“All three have contributed a lot to the CFL and the game of football and I’d like to thank them all for their time spent with our Club.”

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Read more:
Edmonton Elks mauled 43-10 by B.C. Lions in season finale

The board said the search has begun for permanent replacements of the CEO and general manager. In the interim, Allan Watt, the team’s executive director of marketing, has been named interim chief operating officer.

“Allan has a long history with our organization and the community. His understanding of the Edmonton sports market is second to none. I’d like to thank him for his willingness to continue to support our organization and steward the Club through this transition period,” Murray said.

“The board is aggressively working to have a new CEO in place by the end of January”, the news release said, adding talent acquisition firm Gallagher, previously Optimum Talent, will donate its services to the club.

The board said it has contracted long-time CFL player, coach, GM and executive Wally Buono to consult and advise the club in hiring a new general manager ؅ — expected to be named before the end of 2021 — so the team is well prepared for the beginning of free agency in February.

“Wally is unrivalled as a winner in this league and we have every confidence that with his help we will find the general manager that will lead this team back to excellence,” Murray said.

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

“The club will be actively engaging with fans, season seat holders and key stakeholders to learn from their experiences to help with a quick rebuild on and off the field for the 2022 season,” the news release said.

Read more:
Edmonton Football Team extends contract of GM Brock Sunderland

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