'An Argonaut in perpetuity'

Mike (Pinball) Clemons laughs during an emotional news conference Thursday where it was announced...

Mike (Pinball) Clemons laughs during an emotional news conference Thursday where it was announced he has re-signed as coach of the Toronto Argonauts through the end of next season. (Toronto Sun/Stan Behal)

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:48 AM ET

The Argos are a big part of his life, but Pinball Clemons doesn't plan on being a lifelong head coach.

The Argos officially announced that Clemons' contract has been extended through to the end of next season. It could have been longer had that been what Clemons wanted.

"I don't want to ever be a liability to the organization," he said at a news conference yesterday in which he became emotional. "I want to constantly prove myself. This whole (idea) of trying to get five-year contracts, 10-year contracts and security and all of that, I think security is found in hard work. I just want to go and work as hard as I can and do the best I can and continue to be an asset with this organization.

"We'll walk slow and try to take not just one year at a time, but one game and even one play."

Clemons has compiled a record 47 wins, 40 losses and two ties during his head-coaching tenure, and in the past two years he has won a Grey Cup and the first divisional championship in seven years.

Team president Keith Pelley provided an interesting revelation when he remarked that when owners Howard Sokolowski and David Cynamon bought the club in 2003, several governors told them they would never win with Clemons as coach.

"What they didn't realize is that the combination of a warm heart and a brilliant mind has made this man a winner," Pelley said.

Pelley added that when Clemons decides he no longer wants to coach, the club still plans to employ him.

"I want to take that brilliant mind and utilize it in all facets of our business in the marketing department," Pelley said. "Michael will be an Argonaut in perpetuity as long as Howard, David and I are involved in this team."

Clemons said his goals are to continue to grow the Argos on and off the field.

"We want to give you nothing less than our best," he said. "Our mission as a football team is to be Toronto's ultimate role model, combining a competitive spirit and great entertainment value with community involvement and pride. What we have begun to do as a football team over the past couple of years is identify what we want to be. But it's only the beginning.

"What we have to do is still ahead of us," Clemons said. "We want to be the absolute best sports franchise that exists. Period. That combines on the field with off the field. The strides we've made with (the) Stop The Violence (program), I believe, are unprecedented in pro sports. We desire to continue to get better at that and on the field we desire to return a champion.

"We don't want to wait until 2007 when the Grey Cup is here, either."


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