Media man moving on from Esks

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:57 AM ET

EDMONTON - The CFL's best media relations director resigned Thursday.

After 14 years on the job, with no future position of employment on his horizon, Dave Jamieson decided he doesn't want to work for the Edmonton Eskimos anymore.

There's almost certainly a story in there somewhere but Jamieson is good enough at his job that he’s not going to go there. He intends to go out the door an Eskimo.

“It’s awkward timing, but it’s the right timing. It’s something I’ve thought about for quite a while. I arrived at the point where this is the best decision for my family,” he said of wife Holly Krueger of Global TV and three kids Lindsay, 17, Abby, 15, and Danny, 13.

“It’s time. It’s just time. I just turned 50. This is a young man’s game.”

Football is a game about players, coaches, general managers and fans. Very seldom is it about media relations men. But today, whatever the reasons Jamieson has pulled the plug, let’s make it about the soon to be former football flack (he leaves July 9) if for no other reason than he has stories to tell.

Jamieson’s first claim to fame is that he survived Kay Stephenson and Don Matthews as his first two head coaches – the two coaches with arguably the worst media relations in CFL history.

“Hugh Campbell hired me. I owe him everything. He took me on face value and lived with me while I faked it,” said the former program director at 630 CHED.

“I came in when Kay Stephenson was the coach,” said Jamieson, who has worked the job with six head coaches, three presidents and three general managers.

“It was interesting working with Stephenson. I just came in. I knew nothing. I was making it up as I went. I’d stick my head in his office and tell him it was time for the media interviews and he’d tell me ‘Not today, Dave.’ He had the best pressed pants in the league, but not real media friendly.

“Getting to work with Don Matthews involved a lot of stress at times, but he was legendary and it was a lot of fun, too, and I learned a lot about football. But I’d be offending hedge hogs if I said he was prickly.

“I remember when he was fired two days before our first preseason game. I was advised just in time to race to the printer to change Matthews biog to Tom Higgins in our media guide which was coming off the press.”

And so it went until the arrival of Eric Tillman.

“It was maybe his second day on the job when he had a sit-down interview with Brian Williams of TSN when Eric asked me 'Dave, do you have any make-up on you?'

“I thought 'oh, boy'. But it's been really good with him. My style and Eric's style meshed. I get him and he gets me. Eric, Kavis and Ed Hervey are good people.”

There have been a lot of great people, he said.

“Jason Maas, Ricky Ray, Ed Hervey, Signor Mobley, Sean Fleming ... I enjoyed almost all the players. Except one. Hicham El-Mashtoub. I don’t know if there was a more polarizing person on the team. He came from the NFL with baggage and we hated him at all levels. He was a nasty, nasty, nasty person.”

Jamieson speaks highly of departed president Rick LeLacheur and the relationship he had with former board chairman Doug Goss.

“I feel blessed to have had this behind-the-curtains experience. I don’t know if you could find a group of athletes more varied or interesting than you get to deal with in the CFL. We had a surgeon on this team sitting beside a guy from rural Mississippi, sitting beside a guy from McGill. It’s always a very interesting work place.

“More than anybody, I’ve enjoyed Dwayne Mandrusiak’s blistering sense of humour and his knowing, really knowing, what it means to be an Eskimo. To me, he’s the keeper of the flame. Seeing him every day reminds me we won 13 Grey Cups and this is the way we do stuff.

“I have a lot of memories. The Toronto blackout will always be one of the greatest ever. We were in Toronto in 2003 when they had the blackout and we ended up there about a week instead of two days.

“Tom Wright was the CFL commissioner and he drained his personal bank account. There was me, Dwayne Mandrusiak and Tom Higgins in a hotel room, taking money out of a brown paper bag to pass out to players for per diem. I think that trip galvanized that team.

“Those were great experiences in 2003 and 2005 winning those two Grey Cups.

“It was a hell of a ride.”

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