'Gades coach upbeat

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:56 AM ET

If nothing else, Joe Paopao is trying to remain positive.

Speaking yesterday on a conference call as part of the Canadian Football League's state of the franchise series, the general manager/coach of the troubled Ottawa Renegades said he is optimistic things will turn around on and off the field.

"You stay focused and hope that good things will happen," Paopao said.

The ownership situation has been in a muddled state for more than a year. The team's president/minority owner Brad Watters resigned in the off-season to pursue private business but is still involved in selling team sponsorship, and potential buyers Bernie Glieberman and son Lonie -- who owned the team for two controversial seasons during the 1990s -- are looking to get back in. The current owners reportedly have lost $10 million in the three years since the Ottawa franchise rejoined the league following an absence of five years.

"I know if I lose $20 I'm bummed," Paopao said. "To lose millions, I can't fathom that. I know business decisions have to be made."

Paopao went through a similar ownership upheaval while coach of the B.C. Lions in 1996 when Bill Comrie dropped out as owner, Nelson Skalbania took over as head of a consortium that fell apart and David Braley eventually took over the team.

"You try to embrace the moment, as we say as coaches, and just do football," Paopao said. "The other things will work themselves out."

Curiously, while the purpose of the state of the franchise calls are to talk about business operations as well as football operations, Renegades chief operating officer John Lisowski did not participate. Last week in an interview with The Ottawa Sun he addressed the team's bleak financial picture and dwindling season-ticket sales.

"This is a complex issue, it does take time," a team spokesman said.


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