Andrus to Argos is no stretch

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

Bart Andrus once took a college football program that had not won a game in four years and turned it into a winner.

The Argonauts didn't win much last year and probably would be happy if Andrus could just get them back to the Canadian Football League playoffs.

A highly placed source told Sun Media that the expectation is Andrus, an offensive assistant with the Tennessee Titans of the NFL, will accept the Argos' offer to become their next coach. An announcement could be imminent.

The Argos have been in search mode for a new coach since Halloween, when Don Matthews quit after going 0-8. Matthews had replaced Rich Stubler, who was fired when the Argos started the 2008 season with a record of 4-6. At 4-14, the Argos missed the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

In 1996, Andrus, who turns 51 at the end of March, was named the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics coach of the year after re-making the program at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Mont. With Andrus at the helm, Rocky Mountain went 6-4 after years of futility. The offence was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. that year.

During his college playing days, Andrus was a quarterback at the University of Montana and his background is steeped in offence.

He was the head coach of the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe from 2001-07 and he is in his second stint as an offensive assistant with the Titans.

DONE, MAYBE

Argos general manager Adam Rita said yesterday that no offer had been on the table for Andrus to consider. Later, he said: "Maybe it's already done."

Said a source in Tennessee: "I don't know why (Andrus) would not take it. He has no chance of a promotion with the Titans."

Rita spoke in general terms of what he wants in the new coach. "The guy we are going to choose is going to have poise, be consistent, has great leadership skills and has a clean profile from the bottom to the top as far as his resume is concerned," Rita said.

One report has former CFL coach Dave Ritchie becoming part of the Argos coaching staff. Andrus has no CFL experience, so some guidance would help.

The Argos, meanwhile, made an important on-field move, signing linebacker Kevin Eiben to a three-year contract extension. Eiben could have become a free agent when that period in the CFL begins on Feb. 16, but is happy with his home in Toronto and wants nothing more than to leave last season in the past. Eiben was part of a defensive squad that badly was exposed last season.

"That's a tough question," Eiben said when asked if the Argos defence should be re-made. "Everyone I have played with are great CFL calibre players. All in all, I am excited to see what direction this is going to take."

The Argos have lost the services of offensive tackle Cliff Washburn, who performed admirably after he signed with Toronto last September. Washburn last week signed with the Houston Texans, but Rita said he would welcome him back if released.


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