Kent Austin is returning to the CFL.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have hired Austin to be the club's head coach and head of the CFL team's football operations. The team announced the hiring on Monday.

Austin takes over as head coach from George Cortez, who was fired last week after compiling a 6-12 record in his first season with Hamilton.

The Ticats are also in need of a GM with incumbent Bob O'Billovich mulling over an offer to remain with the Hamilton franchise as a consultant.

Austin won a Grey Cup as the Saskatchewan Roughriders' head coach in 2007. He served as head coach of Cornell University last season.

"I am honoured to join the Hamilton Tiger-Cats organization," Austin said in a statement. "There are a lot of reasons to be excited about this opportunity, namely the strong ownership in place, a very passionate group of fans behind us and the chance for immediate success. I can't wait to begin working on our goal of bringing another Grey Cup championship to the city of Hamilton."

The 49-year-old Austin also won a Grey Cup in 2004 as the Toronto Argonauts offensive co-ordinator and earned championship rings as a player with Saskatchewan in 1989 and B.C. in '94.

He is one of only four CFL quarterbacks to pass for more than 6,000 yards in a single season, throwing for 6,225 yards in '92 with Saskatchewan.

Austin entered the coaching ranks in 2003 as a quarterback coach with the Ottawa Renegades. The following season he joined the Argos and helped the team capture the Grey Cup.

He was fired by the Argos in the 2006 season, reportedly in part for not fully utilizing running back Ricky Williams, who played that year in Toronto while under suspension by the NFL for violating its drug policy.

Austin resurfaced quickly, being hired as Saskatchewan's head coach for the 2007 season. He helped guide the Roughriders to a 23-19 Grey Cup win over Winnipeg at Rogers Centre, becoming the first head coach to win a championship with the same team he did so as a quarterback.

That earned Austin the CFL's coach of the year award that year.

On Jan. 16, 2008, Austin became the offensive co-ordinator at the University of Mississippi, his alma mater. Two years later, he accepted the head coaching job at Cornell University and is coming off a season where his team posted a 4-6 record.

Over three seasons at Cornell, Austin compiled an 11-19 record.

Austin takes over a Hamilton team that featured one of the CFL's top offences under Cortez, but with a struggling defence that contributed mightily to the Ticats missing the playoffs.