'Gades chasing GM Joe

The Ottawa Renegades are on the lookout for a new general manager. The team is leaning towards...

The Ottawa Renegades are on the lookout for a new general manager. The team is leaning towards hiring former coach Joe Paopao. (Ottawa Sun File/Tony Caldwell)

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

The Renegades have decided on the man they want to lead them into battle -- none other than GM Joe.

In a somewhat surprising turn of events, the decision makers for Ottawa's CFL team have concluded their search for a new general manager by offering the position to Joe Paopao, who was the team's coach the last three years as well as its director of football operations in 2004.

A source says that while no deal has been signed yet, the two sides are in negotiations and that an announcement is expected before the team's season ticket campaign begins next week.

Paopao, who returned to Ottawa from his home in Oceanside, Calif. on a redeye flight yesterday morning, could not be reached. Team president Brad Watters would not comment.

If he becomes the GM, it's likely Paopao will also serve as the Renegades coach.

'POPULAR MOVE'

"He's well liked and he's a hard-working guy," said the source. "It should be a popular move in the community."

Paopao, who has never held a GM title and saw his contract as coach of the Renegades expire Dec. 31, would be a plus in the team's attempts to re-sign players eligible to become free agents in February as he has close relationships with many of them.

The Renegades have more than 20 players that fall into that category.

Watters did say he himself has already contacted most of the players Ottawa wants to re-sign and that there would be efforts made to get five or six of them inked to new deals in the two weeks after a new GM is hired.

News that Paopao is now in line for the job will probably catch Bob O'Billovich off guard. Not only did he have a positive interview with Watters and Renegades CEO John Lisowski right after the Grey Cup, but all indications up until yesterday pointed to Obie taking over.

Also somewhat unusual is that the Renegades are going to hire a GM before the ownership of the team is settled. If a new partner or partners enters the picture, this means they will have no say in picking the man that will sit behind the team's steering wheel.

At the same time, it wouldn't be a great idea to send out season ticket forms before the fans at least know who's in charge of the football operations side.


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