Of the new Calgary Stampeders' staff announced yesterday, Jim Barker was the only one already hard at work at his job. The former Stampeders coach was given the role of general manager in charge of player personnel yesterday by the ownership regime that took over the club this week.
Though, in reality, Barker spent the last few weeks in California scouting potential CFL stars.
So he wasn't able to enjoy access to the Stamps offices again for the first time since he was ushered out just before Christmas 2003 after one year as coach.
Barker can't wait to again take a stroll through the building he called home for nearly a year.
"That will be strange," Barker said with a chuckle. "I haven't been back in that office since me and my mom cleaned it out Dec. 22, 2003. Remember that picture (the Sun) had? That was the last time I was in the office."
Barker returns to the radically overhauled Stamps in a completely different role. He will work with head coach Tom Higgins on player- personnel matters while constantly scouring North America for talent.
According to ownership executive Ted Hellard, who was named interim president yesterday, Barker has had an impact on those matters already.
"Without going into any details, I can tell you in the last 10 days we have changed 11 players on our negotiation list," Hellard said.
"Jim is here because he has a tremendous passion for player personnel and he has great, great connections down south."