Sports

Christensen takes over Sun offence

KELOWNA – A familiar face is back on the sidelines with the Okanagan Sun.

Former head coach and ex-player Jay Christensen has taken over as the B.C. Football Conference club’s offensive coordinator, replacing Tony Lindsay who was relieved of his duties last week.

Christensen, 47, starred for the Sun as a receiver in the early 1980s. He joined the coaching staff as the offensive coordinator in 1999, before moving into the head coach’s job in 2002. He spent seven seasons at the helm, before stepping down in 2008.

Christensen admitted to being a little hesitant when he was first contacted about the job, but the more he thought about it, the more attractive the scenario became.

“When it first happened, I didn’t think for a minute I would get the phone call,” said Christensen. “I’d stayed away from the game the last few years to look after family needs because those come first.

“But when the calls came, the football juices started to flow again. There are some outstanding athletes on the offensive side of the ball with the Sun, and I’m excited to work with Jason (Casey), the coaching staff and the players.

Head coach Jason Casey opted to make the change following the club’s 33-20 loss last Saturday to the 5-0 Vancouver Island Raiders. The Sun offence has sputtered at times this season, generating just a field goal in the second half in Nanaimo, and managing just 15 points in a narrow win over Langley in Week 3.

Christensen took over the offence this week at practice. The Sun (4-1) returns to action Saturday against the 0-5 Chilliwack Huskers (2 p.m., Apple Bowl).

Casey is looking to Christensen’s football acumen and experience to inject new life into the offence.

“Jay has tons of experience in the CFL and in junior, and there’s a certain camaraderie there, we worked quite well together before,” said Casey. “He knows the game inside out, he’s a guy who can step in mid-season, someone who can work with the existing players and system, help us move forward and make this season successful.”

Casey regrets having to part ways with Lindsay, but believes he has the team’s best interest at heart.

Lindsay, a former Sun player, spent more than 12 seasons on the coaching staff.

“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.”

 

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