Hall soon to be ex-coach

Eskimos coach Ritchie Hall during practice at Clarke Park on August 11, 2010. (PERRY MAH/QMI Agency...

Eskimos coach Ritchie Hall during practice at Clarke Park on August 11, 2010. (PERRY MAH/QMI Agency file photo)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:13 PM ET

Richie Hall will be fired Friday.

But is it possible he could be hired back three or four weeks later by the new head coach as the defensive co-ordinator?

Is Richie Hall the one person in all of football who might be able to make that work?

Is he the one individual who could walk back into the organization which had just canned him and return to doing what he did best in the business without anyone being uncomfortable about it?

Because of the Eskimos wanting to put the season in the background as fast as possible and the Grey Cup hosting in the foreground as soon as possible, this wasn’t a matter tomull over for a month.

And with the possibilities of Ken Miller, 69, deciding to move into a non-coaching job in Saskatchewan and maybe even Wally Buono, 60, replacing himself as head coach in B.C., new G.M. Eric Tillman won’t waste any time in making the announcement that he’ll be looking for a new head coach for the Edmonton Eskimos.

If Thursday wasn’t Remembrance Day, the dirty deed would likely have been done 24 hours earlier. But holding a press conference to fire a football coach at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11 just wouldn’t be the right thing to do.

But the sooner the better.

If you’re not going to be the only one on the market for a new head coach, you might as well start the process first.

Early bird gets the worm and all that.

It’s too bad, considering the man involved, that it’s been a case of ‘When’ instead of ‘If’ Hall will be fired.

Usually when a coach gets fired, fans are all lathered up about punishing the poor sod for his lack of success, want him tied to the tracks, tarred and feathered and run out of town with arrows in his back.

It’s not like that with Hall. Almost everybody involved including the 348,926 fans the Eskimos drew for a pre-season and nine regular season games (but for a sixth straight season no playoff game) in Commonwealth Stadium this year, are going to wish it would have worked out for Hall.

He was fired in print several times this season but the even the people who were pulling the trigger would rather he’d had success and been able to justifiably the Eskimos being able to keep him on the job.

There’s almost never been a reference to Richie Hall without a mention of what a nice guy the way he handled himself, not changing whatsoever over the two years.

If there’s one job that seems to change people dramatically overnight it seems to be going from an assistant coach to a head coach in football. But it didn’t happen with Hall.

The very people who were saying he was failing were still cheering for him to succeed. How often do you see that happening?

The same players who failed to get motivated to win for him mostly would like to see him back next year.

Remember when the Eskimos started the season at 0-4 and finally won one and the players happily gave him a Gatorade shower? And then went out and made it 2-9? It’s all wrapped up in there somewhere.

Richie Hall isn’t wired like a lot of football coaches.

The reason Richie Hall waited so long to become a head coach was that so many people, including Eric Tillman twice, first in hiring Kent Austin and then Ken Miller to be head coaches in Saskatchewan, figured Hall just wasn’t cut out to be a head coach. The bottom line when all is said and done Friday is that will have turned out to be proven true.

But this is the same guy Tillman offered more money than any other defensive coordinator in the league to stay at the same position in Saskatchewan the year he went to Edmonton as head coach.

Austin, who won a Grey Cup with him in 2007, would probably hire him in a minute if he ever comes back to the CFL. Can’t see why a Dave Dickenson or a Kavis Reed, the two people being mentioned as early favourites to be offered the job Hall hasn’t officially lost yet, wouldn’t want him either even if the Eskimos gave up the second most points in their history this year with Hall taking on defensive co-ordinator responsibilities in addition to being head coach.

It would be nice if Hall could come back to try to be all he could be at what he was meant to be. It would be nice to still see his smiling face every day.

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos