Return of Chapdelaine will start up Leos' coaching carousel
The Vancouver Province Thu 13 Dec 2007
There's always a domino effect when putting together a coaching staff in the off season, and the result for the Lions is that two of Wally Buono's former assistants will very likely be back next year.
The exact makeup of the staff won't be anything like last year, yet there's a sameness to the group the Lions coach and general manager seeks to assemble that could result in every member of his inner circle having a connection to the Calgary Stampeders.
That's the CFL team that formally named ex-Lions vice-president Scott Ackles as their president Wednesday.
Changes would start with Jacques Chapdelaine returning as receivers coach and Chuck McMann, who held various Calgary jobs with Buono, signing on as special teams co-ordinator to replace Mike Benevides, who'll take Dave Ritchie's spot as defensive co-ordinator.
And it would continue with Roy Shivers returning to the Lions as personnel director, replacing Hamilton Tiger-Cats general manager Bob O'Billovich.
Some moves will take place quicker than others. Chapdelaine, who was in Vancouver on Wednesday, still has a year left on a contract to serve as associate head coach that was terminated last month by the Edmonton Eskimos.
An announcement concerning Ritchie won't be made by the Lions until O'Billovich determines whether he is a head-coaching option in Hamilton.
Chapdelaine also interviewed recently for the vacant top coaching position with the Montreal Alouettes.
And neither McMann, whose second tour of duty with Calgary was terminated this week,
nor Shivers has received a formal offer yet either, Buono said Wednesday.
But the proposed changes to the administrative structure would bring an end to the position of co-offensive co-ordinator that caused minor angst among players, with Dan Dorazio assuming the role on his own and Steff Kruck returning to quarterbacks coach. "I don't think it's important for me, but it's important for the players," Buono said. There's also a good chance the Lions will add an assistant, despite losing Jamie Barresi, whose tenure as receivers coach will end Jan. 31.
However the key pickup might be Shivers, who said he hasn't watched more than a handful of games since being fired by Saskatchewan in 2006 as general manager but clearly had a hand in assembling this year's Grey Cup champions. Shivers also didn't need to be reminded of his recruiting record during a decade spent in Calgary with Buono. "It wasn't bad, was it?" said Shivers, who has had a few phone discussions with Buono about the personnel vacancy.
Now is not the time for the Tiger Cats
to take chances with the un-battle tested,
let's see if we can entice Dave
from heading out to pasture.
Dave Ritchie for D.C. for now.