The Daley show renewed

Jim Daley, who just signed a multi-year pact with the Blue Bombers to be the team's head coach,...

Jim Daley, who just signed a multi-year pact with the Blue Bombers to be the team's head coach, promises to mould the team into a CFL contender. (Winnipeg Sun/Marcel Cretain)

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

You can pull the "interim" label off Jim Daley.

Three months after taking over from the fired Dave Ritchie as Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach, the 50-year-old Daley has a new, multi-year contract running through at least the 2006 season.

The agreement was widely expected since the Ottawa native guided the Bombers to five of their seven wins this past season.

He's the guy

"He's the guy I wanted," Bomber GM Brendan Taman said at a news conference yesterday. "He really inherited a tough situation. Now he gets a clean slate and he can run with it, and build it as he sees fit."

Daley's job is to rebuild a team that has steadily declined since going 14-4 and reaching the Grey Cup in 2001.

Last season marked the first time in five years the Bombers missed the CFL playoffs.

Calling it "an honour, a challenge and a privilege" to follow a line of Bomber coaches he's admired, including Bud Grant, Ray Jauch, Cal Murphy and Ritchie, Daley says he'll attack the job "with a vengeance."

"We will do our very best to get this organization back to a level where it's been for most of its history," he said. "And we will do it as fast as we can."

Topping his priority list: the hiring of assistant coaches.

"Step 1, hire the best staff," Daley said. "Step 2, re-sign your free agents. Step 3, get ready for Feb. 15 when league free agents become available. We will try to hit the pavement at full speed."

There's no guarantee any assistants from last year will return.

Daley says they'll get consideration, but he'll also look at coaches he's worked with over the years.

He wouldn't name potential candidates, but the list could include Edmonton defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall, former Calgary head coach Jim Barker, former Stamps defensive boss Mike Roach and Saskatchewan's Richie Hall.

Daley says he'd like a staff in place by Feb. 1.

As for shaking up the Bomber roster, Daley says the team's 7-11 record is a good indicator of how many changes need to be made.

"We have here the nucleus of a very, very good football team," he said. "We also have some players who we have to bring in competition, and either the competition wins the job or they retain the job."

One area he won't mess with is at running back. If anything, fans can expect to see even more of Charles Roberts.

"He is special," Daley said. "He's more special than we have even seen. He could be even more dominant than he's been, and that's what we have to push him to do."

At quarterback, Daley wasted no time in anointing Kevin Glenn as No. 1 -- but the job will be contested at training camp.

Whoever plays will be throwing the ball deep more often than Bomber fans saw this past season.

"We need to improve our vertical threat up-field," Daley said. "You have to have big-play potential."

Defensively, Daley says pressuring the quarterback is critical, but not at the risk of giving up big plays.

Daley's contract covers at least the next two years (neither side will reveal the terms) and is believed to pay him somewhere between $150,000 and $180,000 per year, probably at the low- to middle-range of the pay scale for CFL head coaches.


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