December 7, 2023

Rob Vanstone: There are a number of reasons to celebrate Marc Mueller’s arrival 

Marc Mueller, the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ newly appointed Offensive Co-ordinator, is instantly associated with two numbers. 

He wore No. 14 as a star quarterback with the Sheldon-Williams Spartans and University of Regina Rams. 

His legendary grandfather, Ron Lancaster, quarterbacked the Roughriders for 16 seasons while being resplendent in a No. 23 jersey. Mueller himself wore No. 23 in Regina Minor Football. 

So here he is, nearly a decade into his professional football coaching career, and the numbers 14 and 23 continue to be applicable. 

Hired by the Calgary Stampeders in ’14, Mueller has now joined the Roughriders late in ’23. 

“I had never thought of something like that, but the connection is there,” the Regina-born Mueller told Riderville.com. “It’s a really cool coincidence. Things like that make this even cooler.” 

Then came Thursday. 

During a morning media conference at Mosaic Stadium, Mueller was formally introduced as the Roughriders’ player-caller. 

In most cases, an introduction was unnecessary. He has a long history — well, as long of a history as someone who is just 34 can have — with many of the reporters. One of them, Global’s Jacob Carr, was a former teammate with the Rams. 

Small world. 

Big day. 

“It felt a little different this morning,” Mueller told reporters.  

“I saw a guy coming into the office and I actually ran by to get into the building, because I forgot how fast it is to get around Regina.” 

Before meeting the media, one of Mueller’s appointments was with Director of Football Operations Jordan Greenly, who is the uncrowned, yet unquestioned, king of logistics. 

“I was supposed to meet with Jordan here at 8:30,” the proud son of Larry and Lana Mueller continued. “I left my house at 8 o’clock with Larry and Lana and we got here at 8:07, so I was a little bit early.” 

Upon arriving, Marc Mueller took another look at the statues of Lancaster and George Reed — monuments to greatness that are situated not too far away from where the coaches enter the stadium. 

“It’s pretty cool,” Mueller said. “Not many people have a family member who has a statue out in front, especially of someone who has not only been special to our family, but really to the entire country and to the CFL.” 

The family connections to the Green and White extend beyond the iconic No. 23. 

Larry Mueller was hired as the Roughriders’ Assistant General Manager in 1989, which turned out to be a championship season. 

“I walked by a picture of the ’89 team,” Marc Mueller noted, “and you can see a picture of my dad standing on his toes, trying to look tall.” 

When Mueller was born, his grandfather was part of CBC’s telecast team. In fact, Lancaster was in the broadcast booth alongside Don Wittman when the Roughriders defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 43-40 in the 77th Grey Cup Game on Nov. 26, 1989. 

Twenty-three — that number again: 23 — years earlier, to the very day, Lancaster had thrown three touchdown passes to pilot Saskatchewan to a landmark, 29-14 Grey Cup victory over the Ottawa Rough Riders. 

When the 1989 Grey Cup Game was played, Lancaster wasn’t even a decade removed from being the Roughriders’ Head Coach. 

He held that position in 1979 and 1980 after moonlighting as the Offensive Co-ordinator during the final few seasons of his playing career. 

And now, all these years later, he is joined by his grandson on the lengthy list of Roughriders Offensive Co-ordinators. 

“That’s really cool,” Mueller marvelled. “The only other list I share with the Lancasters is interceptions thrown in a game in Canada West, with Bobby.” 

Bob Lancaster, Marc’s uncle, is a former quarterback with the University of Alberta Golden Bears. 

“The connections just continue,” Mueller said in response to a question from this grizzled gargoyle of a historian, “and I’m sure we’ll think of more — especially you, because you somewhat know, or at least perceive that you know, everything. 

“I get to sit in a room that has a picture of my grandfather and his stats and everything like that. That’s really neat. 

“Hopefully we can have success just like he did here.”