The Buffalo Bills are now looking to fill two assistant coaching vacancies this off-season, as quarterbacks coach George Cortez was hired yesterday by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. Cortez will be the team's head coach and Director of Football Operations.
Cortez has spent most of his coaching career in Canada. Before coming to the Bills as Chan Gailey's quarterbacks coach, he was the offensive coordinator for the Calgary Stampeders - and has had great success calling the plays with the wide-open rules up north. The Stampeders won the Grey Cup in 2008 with quarterback Henry Burris, who will join Cortez in Hamilton.
"I am very, very excited to announce that George Cortez has been hired as the new head coach and director of football operations of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats," said team caretaker Bob Young. "George's track record of success speaks for itself, including more than 30 years of coaching experience in the CFL, NFL and NCAA. He's been a part of four Grey Cup championship teams, has engineered some of the CFL's most prolific offences and has coached some of the best quarterbacks in professional football. We're extremely confident that he will build us a championship-calibre program here in Hamilton."
Gailey was supportive of Cortez's decision, and had this to say in a press release from the Bills yesterday:
"George did an excellent job during his time with us and I want to offer my congratulations to him in his new role as head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-cats. We're excited for him with this new opportunity and wish him the best of luck."
No candidates have emerged to replace either Cortez or inside linebackers coach Dave Wannstedt, who was promoted to defensive coordinator. Should the Bills switch back to a 4-3, there may not be a need to replace Wannstedt at all. It should be noted that prior to joining the staff, Cortez and Gailey had never worked together, so his replacement does not necessarily need to be someone on Gailey's coaching tree.