Creehan set to return

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

The Calgary Stampeders will announce today defensive co-ordinator Denny Creehan has signed a one-year contract extension with the club. Although the Stamps struggled to a 4-14 record this season, Creehan's 3-4 defensive scheme quickly became the team's calling card in just his first year with the club.

"Co-ordinators are a priority for us and Denny is a big part of that and we were able to re-sign him," GM-head coach Matt Dunigan said yesterday.

"Years ago when I was asked what kind of defence I'd like to run if I had an opportunity, it was a 3-4. Knowing Denny and his experience with the 3-4, I thought he was a great fit."

Creehan's return is an essential ingredient for any success the club achieves in 2005. Last season, his defence placed second statistically behind only Montreal in fewest yards allowed, while racking up impressive totals for both interceptions and quarterback sacks.

His signing also will aid Dunigan in locking up free-agent linebacker John Grace, a crucial component of that defence. Grace was the 2004 West Division nominee for defensive player of the year and is eligible to sign elsewhere as of Feb. 15.

"To keep continuity on the coaching staff is important, especially with the success we had last season defensively," Dunigan said.

"This will be a big step in keeping continuity on the football team."

Dunigan is also searching for an offensive co-ordinator. He fired John Jenkins just six games into the 2004 campaign and assumed the role himself.

Most CFL coaches are under contract until the end of January, delaying the process unless the successful candidate has an "out clause" allowing a move to another club to accept a clear promotion.

"It's difficult because coaches are under contract and until they become available, we're stuck in no-man's land," Dunigan said.

"There are some coaches out there and it's a precarious situation because of uncertainty with so many different clubs and clubs looking to find quality, experienced CFL coaches. There's plenty of coaches out there but experienced CFL coaches are limited.

"It's a tough situation for several clubs to be in because coaches are still under contract yet not knowing what ownership or head coaching situations are going to be for next season."

Creehan was unavailable for comment.


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