Reed happy to be 'home'

Kavis Reed, the new Head Coach of the Edmonton Eskimos, speaks to media during a press conference...

Kavis Reed, the new Head Coach of the Edmonton Eskimos, speaks to media during a press conference at the Commonwealth Stadium. (Laura Pedersen/QMI Agency)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:24 PM ET

Before it's a good hire, it's a good story.

It's not just a football story. It's a love story.

And it's not just a love story about a man and his family but of a man and a town and a team.

"The great thing about this is I'm giving a man his dream," said new GM Eric Tillman before entering Commonwealth Stadium Friday to introduce Kavis Reed as the 19th head coach in Edmonton Eskimos history.

Kavis Reed was an Edmonton Eskimo from 1995 to 2000 when a neck injury ended the career of a newly married man.

"I was 27, at the prime of my playing career, laying on the field at Commonwealth Stadium with a neck injury. I was just married and I remember laying there thinking how unfair this was going to be to my wife, knowing that she was going to have to look after me. I knew when I walked off the field that was going to be my last game."

Kavis Reed has spent the last decade as an offensive coach, defensive coach and special teams coach with five different teams in the CFL, and kept his family here year-round while he worked toward this day.

"This is home for her and it's home for me. This is a community conducive to raising a family. We've been comfortable and happy here. This is a community which has embraced me since I came here."

He said he's been blessed.

His wife Darlene and children Tyra, 10, and Tarik, 8, sat in the front row of the press conference and heard Reed speak of them first. When it was over, media members made a beeline to interview his family.

"From the time I first met him, I knew football would always be in him. It's always made him happy," said Darlene.

Anyone who has followed Reed as he moved around the league has heard how he was always making reference to the Eskimos organization at every stop to the point of becoming a pain in the posterior on the subject.

"I understand this is the flagship franchise of the CFL. It has always been part of me. I couldn't take that out of me. It was inbred in me. Once an Eskimo, always an Eskimo," said Reed.

"We have the right man to give you a team to be proud of," said Tillman of the badly botched hire, in terms of the premature leaks of assistant coaches Marcus Crandell, Rich Stubler, Rick Campbell, Tim Prinsen and Mark Nelson and the latest, only a few minutes prior to the press conference, that Tony Playter will join Tillman from Saskatchewan as assistant GM.

All that is an embarrassment to "the Eskimo way" which Reed made reference to. But one of the things about hiring the new coach was making sure he would be able to bring an assistant coaching staff which would be a dramatic improvement to the one Danny Maciocia saddled poor Richie Hall with here.

And speaking of poor Richie Hall, the man who came here with a similar background to Reed, the two couldn't be more different.

Reed is intense and promised a team which would show up prepared to play at the start of games and then end of games. The impossible-to-dislike Hall would still be here if his Eskimos had played first and fourth quarters for him.

"They will not only show up for the opening kickoff but for every play. That's the only way to play football," said Reed.

While there have been some spectacular exceptions, most head coaches are impressive enough in their introduction press conferences. But Reed was highly impressive.

Reed made some promises. Not vague. And not distant.

He was relaxed, soft spoken, wearing a big smile and enjoying his moment but there was content in almost every sentence.

There was no preaching of patience for this team that hasn't had a home playoff game since 2004.

"There are pieces in place here to allow us to win," he said. "We'll be competitive on Day 1.

"I've been away for 10 years but not far enough away to realize what the Edmonton Eskimos are all about."

He promised "a future as bright as the past, with a culture which reflects the Eskimos past."

Follow me on Twitter.com/sunterryjones


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