And then there ...

TERRY JONES

, Last Updated: 7:45 AM ET

It's a risky business trying to determine who the next coach of the Edmonton Eskimos is going to be.

Like back in 1977 when, as sports columnist at the Edmonton Journal before there was an Edmonton Sun, myself and football beat writer Ray Turchansky had convinced ourselves that Jim Eddy, (who told us off the record coming out of the interviews, "I think it's me.") was going to be the next head coach.

Wrong. Turned out to be Hugh Campbell.

Oops. Didn't even have him as a candidate.

We all knew Gluey Hughie Campbell as a receiver with the Saskatchewan Roughriders but he'd been working as head coach of small Whitworth College in Spokane.

Eskimos president Don Carlson later claimed that GM Norm Kimball "knew who he wanted as his next head coach a year and a half before he picked him."

Campbell went on to go to six consecutive Grey Cups, winning five of them, before heading to the NFL and returning to the Eskimos as GM and then returning to Edmonton as CEO for a couple more decades of excellence.

GM Danny Maciocia will likely tell CEO Rick LeLacheur today who he has on a short list of two or three candidates to be invited for second interviews.

Those believed to have been interviewed by Maciocia for a minimum of four hours each, as well as having filled out a 15-page questionnaire and completed an assignment evaluating Eskimos personnel are Doug Berry, Rick Campbell, Chris Jones, Ron Vinklarek, Greg Marshall, Mike Benevides, Rick Worman, Noel Thorpe and Richie Hall.

So, let's go through them.

DOUG BERRY: Recently fired Winnipeg head coach is Maciocia's best friend in the coaching business. Seldom a good idea to hire a best friend, although it worked out rather well for Hugh Campbell with Ron Lancaster. Optics on hiring a fired Bomber coach (especially when Winnipeg just hired Eskimos assistant Mike Kelly to replace him) are not good.

But don't count him out resurfacing here as an assistant.

RICK CAMPBELL: His dream is to have the head coaching job his dad, Hugh, had here. But the defensive co-ordinator has spent nine years here fighting the fan-base belief that his dad is the reason he has his job (despite the job he's done, especially in 2005 to win the Cup). Fans would revolt if Campbell got the job. Needs to go away and be successful someplace else and then come back. This would be a good time to go.

CHRIS JONES: First of all, he's a Calgary assistant. That alone makes him a hard sell in Edmonton. Second he's a "hot" coach having won the Grey Cup and Maciocia is on the record saying he doesn't believe in hot coaches.

Remember Maciocia hired Jacques Chapdelaine as "offensive co-ordinator and associate head coach" two years ago.

That was a disaster.

RONNIE VINLAREK: Has NFL credentials with Buffalo and Tennessee but short on CFL experience with one year in Birmingham during U.S. expansion years and last year with Esks. Pretty hard to make the leap from offensive line coach to head coach on that.

GREG MARSHALL: Was runner-up to Maciocia four years ago. Lives in St. Albert in off season. Knows Eskimos organization well and would be a comfortable fit with media and fans. But passed over for Bombers job and an awkward fit with Maciocia considering what happened four years ago. Bombers' defence was worse than Eskimos last year, too.

MIKE BENEVIDES: Rumoured to be on Toronto's short list and rumoured to have had a second interview. Born and raised in Toronto. No Eskimo connections or indications that he'd rather have this job than the one in Toronto.

So that leaves three?

RICK WORMAN: A former CFL QB who is responsible for bringing Ricky Ray to the Eskimos and is the current offensive co-ordinator. Never a bad idea to keep your quarterback happy, especially if he's the best in the league and in the prime of his career. But not believed to have been on Maciocia's original list of six because Maciocia thinks Worman is perfect for his current job.

NOEL THORPE: He's a Canadian on a team with a Canadian CEO and a Canadian GM. He hasn't been an offensive or defensive co-ordinator although Maciocia telegraphed that he doesn't feel co-ordinators are better suited to be head coaches. Six years as a position coach in Montreal. Moved here to work with Maciocia and be in Alberta for the benefits for his autistic son. Some insiders believe Maciocia identified him as his likely replacement when he hired him in the first place. Seen by players as head coach material in the way he carries himself. Would work well with the media.

RICHIE HALL: Has for years been the architect of Saskatchewan's defences and highly respected as one of the very best CFL assistants, probably the most respected CFL assistant who hasn't had a shot as a head coach. Passed over by Saskatchewan for Ken Miller, who is perfect for that market.

Exceptionally quiet manner has worked against him as head coaching material. Might be best fit in terms of keeping Thorpe and Worman with the bonus of maybe being able to bring some much-needed defensive talent from Saskatchewan.

If Hall is hired, he will be the first black head coach in Eskimo history.

Hall probably deserves it most.


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