Hunt: Matthews inspired by Kilrea

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:25 AM ET

At the Civic Centre last spring for a luncheon to help promote Ottawa's return to the CFL, Don Matthews surely had a sip from the building's water fountain of youth.

The one just down the hall from Brian Kilrea's office.

"Maybe sitting at a table that day with Brian, he was inspired," Ottawa 67's owner Jeff Hunt said yesterday, speaking of Matthew's return to coach the Toronto Argos at the age of 69. "Some of Brian's best years, he was in his late 60s. That's when we went to the Memorial Cup in Regina and in London.

"Certainly, Brian has extended the life span of coaches in all sports by his precedent."

As Kilrea approaches tonight's home pre-season game against Belleville, his 74th birthday and a final season as the 67's coach, Hunt and his partners trying to revive pro football in the capital are suddenly without their chief pigskin consultant.

In May, Matthews was announced as an adviser to the Hunt group. The plan was to use his expertise as the winningest coach in CFL history to eventually help in the expansion draft process and put a management team in place.

Now, with Matthews lured back from his Oregon home to bail out the Boatmen, his status with the conditional Ottawa franchise is up in the air.

"I found it very interesting," Hunt said of Matthews unexpected return to the league. "He wasn't looking to get actively back into coaching.

"I haven't spoken with him since he accepted the position, but I understand it's just for the balance of the season. A future relationship with him may not be out of the question for us."

So, if being back on the sidelines rekindles his desire to coach, would Matthews be a candidate to coach in Ottawa?

That is, if the Hunt group is successful in its bid for a franchise.

"It wouldn't be fair for me to speculate on any employee on any team in the CFL right now," said Hunt.

"Right now, Don's employed by the Toronto Argos."

Meanwhile, Hunt's group plans to make a proposal for a redeveloped Lansdowne Park to City of Ottawa staff in the next few weeks in its bid to get Ottawa back in the CFL.

"We think things are moving along very well," said Hunt. "Our enthusiasm for the project, if anything, is building.

"We think the next big milestone is to bring something to the city. We're still working on getting something to present to the city this month, hopefully."


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