Dunigan as Esks' new OC?(article)

Booth to booth?
For Dunigan it's a question of leaving a TV chair for a hot seat in coaching

Matt Dunigan will gladly pick up the phone if the Edmonton Eskimos call in search for a new offensive co-ordinator.

Although nothing is official, it appears Danny Maciocia would relinquish his offensive co-ordinator title next year if he returns as the Green and Gold's head coach.

And the apparent people's choice - at least according to a Sun poll which ranked Dunigan as the most popular contender - is interested in talking.

"I would have a long, detailed conversation with them and listen to what they had to say (if the club phoned)," said Dunigan yesterday afternoon.

In a case of strange timing, the former all-star quarterback will enter the Canadian Football Hall of Fame this weekend wearing an Eskimo jersey.

"It was the best five years of my career," he remarked from Hamilton, home of the Hall of the Fame.

But would the Eskimos actually give Dunigan an opportunity to return to his old home?

"I'm not going to comment on that," said Maciocia yesterday.

Realistically, it's probably a very big longshot that the Eskimos - or most teams - would call the TSN analyst for a coaching job after the debacle in Calgary in 2004, when the Dunigan-led Stampeders finished 4-14.

That doesn't mean he's not qualified for the offensive co-ordinator job.

In fact, the ex-Eskimo admits he learned from his Calgary experience and is gaining knowledge in his role as a TV studio commentator.

"From the vantage point I am in, I get to coach, critique and analyze eight different teams - and it is a tremendous opportunity to hone your skills and to stay on top of cutting-edge techniques and philosophies in talking to everybody around the league," remarked the five-time all-star pivot.

That doesn't mean Dunigan wants to leave the CFL's top broadcaster.

"It's a tremendous group of people I work with there," he said.

"In all my years in the Canadian Football League, TSN is the best team I have ever worked for."

But the idea of coaching is very intriguing.

"If I was single and I could just draw plays all day long - like Adam Rita and Mike Kelly taught me to do - that would be a great world to live in," he continued.

"But that is not where I am at.

"I have a wife and three kids and I have to think of them as well.

"But co-ordinating - that's the aspect of the game I enjoy.

"I pride myself in the X's and O's."

And although he left the Eskimos in 1987, Edmonton still has a very special place in his heart.

"I married my wife in 1984 at Commonwealth Stadium in the Green and Gold room," he remembered.

"I have got some serious ties to Edmonton.

"My wife and I were there (when) we didn't have any kids and the streets of Edmonton were ours for the taking - and we took it most of the time with our good friends that we made ... and we continue to have with the Eskimo alumni."

But when Dunigan bumps into the Eskimo brass in Hamilton during the Hall of Fame festivities, don't expect him to even bring up the idea of a potential return to the organization.

"The Edmonton Eskimos choose their coaches - coaches don't choose them," he stated.


As a player:

2 - Grey Cup titles (1987 Edmonton, 1991 Toronto)

5 - Division all-star honours

14 - years in CFL

5,031 - rushing yards

43,587 - passing yards

As a coach:

4-14 - record in Calgary (2004)

I'd like that. He would have done alot better in Calgary if he could have got A quarterback and some receivers.