Grey Cup champs reunited 26 years later

TODD SAELHOF, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 8:15 AM ET

CALGARY — Lyle Bauer and John Hufnagel are together again.

Grey Cup champions in Winnipeg in 1984, the two former CFL stars are teaming up in hopes of bringing football glory — both on and off the field — to the Calgary Stampeders.

Bauer, 51, was introduced Monday as president and COO of the Stampeders.

The former biz wiz of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers takes over the position held for the last few seasons by Scott

Ackles, who left last month to head up the 2011 Grey Cup festivities in Vancouver.

Bauer will be in charge of business operations, while GM/head coach Hufnagel will be boss of daily football duties.

“We’ve been to battle together,” said Bauer, of playing three seasons with Hufnagel as part of a 10-year CFL career — all with Bombers — as an offensive lineman.

“John and I had a great time, great fun and great stories, and we’ve maintained a relationship. As a matter of fact, when we get together at CFL meetings, it’s just like old-home week.

“John’s extremely good at what he does, and hopefully we can complement each other on the business and organizational side and move forward together and win another championship.”

Bauer, a business grad from Weber State University, is no slouch himself after helping build the Bombers in his role as CEO from 2000 until last month.

The Bombers Hall of Famer is touted as a financial expert and the right money man during rocky economic times.

“In Winnipeg, he did a bang-up job on the operations side in Winnipeg,” said Stamps co-owner John Forzani.

“When he went there, Winnipeg was having a few issues, and now the club is very, very well situated from an economic standpoint.”

Bauer said he resigned from the Bombers Dec. 17 because his mission was complete.

“The club was virtually out of business — more than $5 million in debt,” Bauer said.

“And now their finances and balance sheet are exactly opposite. Whoever goes into Winnipeg now is going to inherit an extremely well-capitalized organization.”

Meanwhile, Bauer intends to boost the bottom line of the Stampeders.

“Moving forward, it’s about opportunity,” Bauer said.

“It’s about recognizing where there may be some new business initiatives for the Calgary Stampeders football club.

“This (ownership) group here has put the investment into putting the best product on the field,” Bauer added.

“This group truly gets what it means to be a premier franchise and what they want to work towards in the Canadian Football League.”

Coaches on the move?

The rumour mill out of Winnipeg has Calgary Stampeders offensive coordinator George Cortez and defensive coordinator Chris Jones on the short list for the Blue Bombers head coaching vacancy.

“If it ends up that one of our coaches ends up in another city — and he wants that — then that’s great for him,” said Stamps managing partner Ted Hellard.

“That speaks well for our program.”

todd.saelhof@sunmedia.ca


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