The process to bring Bart Andrus aboard the listing ship Argonaut began with a phone call to the now-former Tennessee Titans offensive assistant from Argos assistant general manager Greg Mohns just before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday in November.
Though Argos GM Adam Rita said he knew from the initial meeting in Detroit, where the Titans were playing the Lions the next day, that Andrus was a top candidate, he also knew he had to wait to get the man he wanted.
"The longer it took, the higher he went (on the candidates list)," Rita said. "(The Titans) were in the thick of things in the NFL and the timing might not have been right for us. But we got our guy and we are excited about that."
But had Mike Benevides, the defensive co-ordinator with the B.C. Lions and a Toronto native, said yes to a verbal offer a few weeks ago, the job would have been his.
"We approached Mike with a verbal contract when we did not think we would be able to approach Bart for a long time," Argos co-owner Howard Sokolowski said. "Bart was always our first choice."
Other than watch a few of the Argos' games on film to help prepare himself for interviews with the team, Andrus, a married father of two who lives in Bigfork, Mont., in the off-season, acknowledged he has plenty of homework to do in order to get to know his team.
Andrus is going to keep Steve Buratto on staff, though it did not sound like Buratto will remain as the offensive co-ordinator. But there is no guarantee defensive co-ordinator Kavis Reed will return.
Andrus takes over an outfit that was 4-14 in 2008 and missed the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
"We're going to be a team that will block and tackle and I think that's a good start," Andrus said. "We'll get the thing pointed in the right direction. I'm positive that will happen because I have seen it happen in different places I have gone.