Renegades owners to ask Tillman to come home

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It's back to the future for the Renegades.

Club owners Bernie Glieberman and Bill Smith are looking to rehire former GM Eric Tillman to run the team's football operations, the Sun has learned.

Glieberman, who owns 51% of the club, and Smith met with CFL commissioner Tom Wright yesterday at the league's office in Toronto to discuss the future of the troubled team.

According to sources, Smith made it clear he would relinquish his share unless the club made Tillman an offer. Glieberman agreed they should try to get Tillman back.

If Tillman accepts, it would lead to a reassignment for pro football Hall of Famer Forrest Gregg, the team's VP of football operations.

Tillman's return would also mean the departure of team consultant John Lisowski, the former Renegades CEO who ousted Tillman -- the team's GM for its first three years.

Along with Wright, the Renegades' owners met with two candidates who could take over as the team's administrative functions.

The top candidate is Washington Nationals VP of finance Bob Nicholson, but it's believed he wasn't involved in yesterday's meetings.

A possible scenario has Paul Robson and Al Ford, both of whom have operated CFL teams in the past, to run the club on an interim basis until the owners agree on a permanent boss. One thing is certain: Ex-CFL commissioner Jeff Giles isn't in the running.

"No one has approached me and I haven't even thought about approaching anybody about this," said Giles from his home in Toronto.

Another possibility would have existing staff members of the Renegades and junior hockey 67's melded into one unit, with 67's owner Jeff Hunt and president Pat Whalen running the show. Both teams have offices in the Coliseum Building at Lansdowne Park.

Hunt said he and Glieberman have discussed business recently in general terms, but doesn't believe a blend of operations would work. Hunt also added yesterday he's not interested in owning the Renegades.

"I think that one's out of my snack bracket," he said.

The search for an administrative boss will also lead to the departure of consultant Phil Kershaw, who has been running the team's administration in recent weeks.

With training camp less than 11 weeks away, Glieberman and Smith are under pressure to get the team's affairs in order quickly.

The team needs to hire a training staff and an equipment manager, even at this late stage. Most importantly, the site of training camp has yet to be determined.

"We're working with them to develop a plan," said Wright. "Bernie and Bill understand the sense of urgency in this."

Last week, Lonie Glieberman, the owner's son, relinquished his role as the team's administrative boss.

thank god, your prays have been answered Ottawa.

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The Ottawa Renegades are on the verge of bringing back former general manager Eric Tillman.

It is unclear what position or title Tillman would assume, but he would likely serve in a football operations capacity alongside general manager Forrest Gregg, perhaps as GM-in-waiting.

Majority owner Bernie Glieberman and minority partner Bill Smith held a marathon meeting with CFL commissioner Tom Wright in Toronto yesterday, and the parties emerged to say they would have a football-operations announcement later this week or early next week.

Glieberman and Smith had already agreed some of the franchise's public-relations and football troubles could have been solved or avoided with Tillman in the fold.

"There is no commitment yet to anyone, but I'm not going to deny that (Tillman's) name was discussed," Glieberman said last night.

Tillman said he had not spoken with either Glieberman or Smith since last week, and that he was unaware of any impending announcement.

"Everybody seems to think it's me, but, at this point, all I know is what I read in the paper," Tillman said.

The Renegades also interviewed two candidates for the chief executive officer position, which will be filled by a joint hire by Glieberman and Smith. That search began last week when team president Lonie Glieberman, Bernie's son, stepped down from his day-to-day role with the club amid intense pressure.

"We have to digest these guys. No decision has been made," Bernie Glieberman said. "I don't think they would be known to the Ottawa fan on the street."

Glieberman said he did want to hire a CEO on an "emergency" basis and that the club might require an interim business leader between now and training camp, which begins in late May.

Wright finally admitted yesterday that the league was connecting potential chief executive candidates with the Renegades, while Glieberman admitted that he had one brief discussion with Bob Nicholson, the Washington Nationals chief financial officer and someone whose CFL reputation is impeccable. Nicholson was once president of the Toronto Argonauts, and Glieberman said he would like someone who came with the CFL's endorsement.

"We'll be looking at other potential candidates with them, but they will really be the ones (hiring)" Wright said.

Meanwhile, Bernie Glieberman's spirits were buoyed following fan feedback on his ownership of the Renegades. Glieberman said fan response had been overwhelmingly supportive since his son asked fans to visit the team's website and deliver a verdict.

"These are the first indications I'm getting, but only one person has said that I shouldn't own the team. Every other one -- there were about 50 -- said they wanted me to stay," Glieberman said yesterday.

"I want fan support. I wouldn't say (Lonie's departure) leaves me with no motivation. I've got to admit that Lonie was a motivating factor, but, as I've said before, this is the one business where I have not been successful, and for the moment, I'm here.

"If the fans will support it, I don't want to let anyone down."

Before yesterday's meeting, Glieberman admitted he and Smith both believed there was a position for Tillman in the team's future. At that time, ownership had not reached a decision on what to do with Gregg, but Glieberman said the general manager was not responsible for the organization's mistakes.

but Tillamn has sais that he doesn’t wanna come back unless “Forest Gump” leaves the club, if I’m not mistaken. I think most members on here would be pleased if that happened.

To have Tillman back would be super for the Gades, he will be sure that the club is operated professionally without a doubt.

Don’t know bout you but i hope Tillman gets hired back…I can’t stop smiling. Is it because i am excited bout the season :smiley:

Please come back Tillman the gades miss ya...
Plus it would help football in the Capital...

this could very well swing the father son combo question back to Farteriks.......