Co-ordinator a hot commodity

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:10 AM ET

Denny Creehan is still too busy to worry about his contract, which expires in January.

There's game film to break down, highlight tapes to prepare and "tons of other things" on which he's working, even though the Calgary Stampeders won't play another down until June of next year.

After an amazing performance from the defence in 2004, the co-ordinator who was greeted by bewildered looks at his introductory press conference nine months ago is now touted as a genius.

He's also considered a crucial component for the Stamps to re-sign for 2005 and beyond.

Problem is, the success of the Stamps D also caught the eye and earned the respect of football people from coast to coast, making him a hot commodity throughout the CFL.

Now, even a head-coaching opportunity could be thrown Creehan's way this winter when the other eight teams begin evaluating their staffs for next season.

"I don't think you pursue those kinds of jobs," Creehan said of potential head-coaching openings in other cities, although he'd love the opportunity. "If a job like that opens up and somebody has in mind who they want to talk to, normally they call you. If you have to send out a resume and apply for that kind of job, you're not going to get it."

Although he arrived with an impressive U.S. college resume covering 30 years, thin CFL credentials left many wondering what was in store on defence this season.

But the Stamps' intimidating 3-4 defence, introduced by Creehan this season, was among the league leaders in key statistics. The Stampeders earned praise for yards allowed per game, while challenging for the league lead in interceptions and sacks despite an inept offence that left the unit on the field far too long.

Conventional wisdom suggests pro football teams tend to lean toward offensive minds for head coaching positions but that may be changing.

Creehan points out last year's Super Bowl teams were led by defensive specialists while defensive gurus are having success as head coaches throughout the CFL.

"In this league, you've got Wally Buono (B.C.), who's a defensive guy; Don Matthews (Montreal), who's a defensive guy," Creehan pointed out, adding names such as Tom Higgins of Edmonton and Jim Daley of Winnipeg to that list. "I understand the mentality that sometimes people think by hiring an offensive guy, that's going to put people in the seats. But the bottom line, what puts people in the seats is winning."

Although Creehan said he would like to remain in Calgary and has enjoyed the experience despite finishing with a 4-14 record, a head coaching job would be the ultimate challenge.

"Yeah, of course," said Creehan, whose only CFL experience prior to this season was three years coaching special teams in Edmonton. "That's what you work for all your life, so you'd like to have that opportunity someday. So if it comes along, shoot yeah, absolutely you want something like that. You have to do what's best for your family. You want to advance your career the best you can, that's what you're in this for."


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