Eskimos DC set Reed on career path

Kavis Reed, the new Head Coach of the Eskimos, speaks to the media at Commonwealth Stadium in...

Kavis Reed, the new Head Coach of the Eskimos, speaks to the media at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta on December 10, 2010. (LAURA PEDERSEN/QMI Agency)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:58 PM ET

Rich Stubler, a decade ago, tried to talk Kavis Reed out of being a football coach.

Now he’s coming here as defensive co-ordinator to help Reed launch his career as the head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos.

“I tried to talk him out of coaching, I really did,” said Stubler. “I was very strong in suggesting he not go into football coaching.”

It was back when Reed’s career came to an end due to a neck injury and Stubler’s former defensive back showed interest in going in search of a job as an assistant coach.

“He has a great education. He’s as smart as they come. He was in the top five per cent of his class. He could have a medical career. Why coach football?

“But football is his passion. I appreciate that now. And being the head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos is one of the great things, because he is an Eskimo.”

It’s all true, admits Reed who Wednesday finally made Stubler and special teams coach Rick Campbell official and announced Kip Lathrop will replace Mike Walker as defensive line coach and that mid-season hire Mark Nelson will be offered a chance to stay on as linebacker coach.

“Rich strongly urged me to use my bachelor of science degree in biology at medical school and avoid the cyclical and volatile business of coaching,” said Reed.

“He failed.

“And he’s the reason he failed.

“He was the one who gave me the flu bug that is coaching.

“That year he was coaching Detroit in the arena league and he signed on with the Toronto Argos as defensive co-ordinator. Rich asked me if I would go to Toronto for training camp and the first four games of the season to install his defence before he could get there.

A mentor

“Pinball Clemons asked me to stay on for the rest of the year and I’ve coached every year since,” said the new Eskimos bench boss, who kept his family living here year-round and returned every off season.

“Rich has always been my mentor and a close personal friend and something of a father figure for me.”

Stubler explains it from his end.

“I love Kavis. He’s like a son to me. He’s one of the few special people in my life.

“I remember when I first met him when he came to camp with the Eskimos,” said Stubler, who will be entering his eighth year as an Eskimos coach on his third tour of duty.

“He was 138 pounds and skinny. We looked at him and wondered if he could knock somebody down. We put him on the practice roster. He showed us he could do more than you think he could do.

“Kavis and I always wanted to coach together and after that first year, we did again in 2007 and he was my defensive co-ordinator the following year, when I became head coach of the Argos.”

The head coaching thing didn’t take for Stubler.

Back in Edmonton

“I love to coach defence. Obviously I wasn’t great at coaching the whole deal,” he said.

“There was a time in my life when my great desire was to be the head coach of the Eskimos. I have a lot of green and gold in me, too. I love Edmonton. To me it’s a small town masquerading as a big city. People care about you there. This is perfect for me because I’m back in Edmonton and have this chance to work with Kavis as he begins his head-coaching career.”

Reed says a big part of this is the Eskimos background and that will be evident when he makes offensive co-ordinator Marcus Crandell and the coaches on that side of the ball official Friday.

“Who better to train our team on the Eskimo way than the guys who lived and experienced it and saw how things were and how things worked and want to bring that back?” said Reed.

“I just went out and bought green outfits for my Chihuahuas,” laughed Stubler.

“Kavis is going to be a wonderful head coach. He’s very thorough, has great passion, is a great motivator of people and is a great detail guy. I’m excited for Kavis. And I know he’s ready to be a head coach.”

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos