Austin big on Paopao

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:06 AM ET

Kent Austin took some time out during yesterday's Argonauts breakfast at the Marriott to lend support to his friend, Renegades coach Joe Paopao.

"I'm really concerned for him and I want things to work out for him. I love the guy," said the former member of the Renegades coaching staff.

After spending the 2003 season on Paopao's staff as quarterbacks and receivers coach, Austin accepted an offer from the Argos in January to become the club's offensive co-ordinator, but not after struggling with the decision.

"It was difficult, but once a decision is made, it's made and you move on and dedicate yourself to your new job," he said.

The news both shocked and angered members of the Renegades administration brass, which viewed Austin's decision to join an East Division rival as nothing short of mutiny.

Austin, a Grey Cup MVP with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1989, garnered praise for his work with rookie QBs Kerry Joseph and Romaro Miller last season.

The move to the Big Smoke turned out well for Austin and his family, with the Argos advancing to Sunday's CFL championship game.

Meanwhile, the Renegades floundered and finished the season with a 5-13 record.

The coaching staff came under heavy scrutiny when team president Brad Watters publicly challenged the club twice following losses at Frank Clair Stadium.

Paopao and GM Eric Tillman, who was stripped of most of his duties in March, complete the third year of their three-year contracts with the club in January.

Watters has said the futures of both men will be decided after the completion of the weekend's Grey Cup activities.

Austin said he has spoken with Paopao recently to check in and wish him well.

"You want to see the good guys in the business do well. I found myself pulling for Joe in every game, except the ones they played against us," he said.


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