TORONTO - Jim Barker has been keeping the head coaching seat warm after all — for himself.
When Barker was hired as the Argonauts coach last winter, there was the thinking in some corners that he would guide the Boatmen for a year and then go to the front office, presumably as general manager once the contract of GM Adam Rita expired.
But Barker told the Toronto Sun during a telephone in interview on Tuesday he wants to be back on the sideline in 2011, no matter what happens in the playoffs in the next couple of weeks.
“We’ve gone and started to build something and I want to see it through,” Barker said. “I have no desire to step down.”
To say Barker has had a positive influence in Toronto would be an understatement. He has taken a team that was a disaster after two bad seasons and turned it around to the point that it’s a win away from going to the Grey Cup. Barker has to be considered the favourite to be named the Canadian Football League coach of the year.
Barker hadn’t coached since 2003, the Calgary Stampeders were 5-13 under his guidance. He then became the Stamps’ GM and later its player personnel director before moving on to Toronto.
We’re not saying people in the front offices don’t work hard, but the hours that a head coach puts in, especially in football, are unmatched. It has been an adjustment for Barker, but he knew it came with the territory.
“I’m 54 and I have a lot of desire to do this,” Barker said.
As for Rita, his future likely will become clear in the next few weeks.