Stamps assistant GM John Murphy to join Riders

The new head coach and general manager of the Saskatchewan Roughriders Chris Jones (right) and team president and CEO Craig Reynolds. (Michael Bell/CP)

It’s the end of an era‎ with the Calgary Stampeders.

Sportsnet has learned that John Murphy, the assistant general manager of the Stampeders who has spent the better part of the past decade working for the franchise in football operations, is headed to Saskatchewan to join Chris Jones’s front office.

Murphy is expected to be a vice president in the new Roughriders hierarchy, which has undergone a massive overhaul in the past 48 hours since Jones was named general manager and head coach. The previous coaching staff has already been wiped out and, as Sportsnet first reported Tuesday, the club has parted ways with Craig Smith, who had been the director of player personnel and ‎Canadian scouting.

Murphy had actually interviewed for the general manager job in Saskatchewan last week before Jones ultimately received the offer on Sunday. He has been one of the few available hot candidates for top football executive roles league-wide in recent years, credited with “finding” many of today’s CFL stars. But Murphy has been unable to land a GM position and the belief in league circles is that he feels he needs to leave Calgary and have success in another market to make himself a more enviable candidate for future GM openings.

Jones and Murphy worked together in Calgary and both are astute personnel men. Sources told Sportsnet that Jones had been clear in the interview process with the Riders that he wanted to bring in his own people to run the football operation, and was assured he would. To wit, the championship Eskimos ‎staff of 2015 will mirror the Roughriders assistant coaching group of 2016.

Jeremy O’Day had been the Riders interim GM and he, like Murphy, was a finalist for the top job. It is believed O’Day’s position remains safe in the organization, even with the Murphy addition. O’Day is close with Saskatchewan president Craig Reynolds, and will add to the administrative, scouting and personnel requirements needed to run a football operations department.

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