Not a fun day: Taman

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:29 AM ET

The deed is done. Thankfully, it was done quickly.

And one of the nicest men you'd ever want to meet is unemployed.

Axed from one of nine dream jobs in Canadian football, Jim Daley leaves town with little more than another blemish on his record.

His career mark as a CFL head coach: now an uninspiring 28-55, suggesting, perhaps, that there are better things for your resume than working in Regina and Winnipeg -- two cities that have gone a combined 31 years without a Grey Cup victory.

But did Daley ride, kicking and screaming, into the sunset, blaming a lack of money or a lack of good players for his predicament?

Of course not.

He left without a bad word about anybody, including the media, if you can believe that.

Classic Daley: nice guy to the end.

Too nice, maybe.

At least, that was one line of thinking in the Blue Bomber locker-room this season.

"He was the most remarkable and genuine and nicest man I've ever seen in a coaching position," defensive lineman Doug Brown said yesterday. "But that was probably his downfall."

Even after a loss, there was no ranting and raving at Bomber headquarters. No punishment practices. No "perform or you're gone" edicts.

Of course, Mike Riley was a nice guy, too, wasn't he? So is Pinball Clemons. Both won Grey Cups, Clemons in Toronto a year ago, and Riley right here, back in 1988 and '90.

Daley, though, couldn't pull it off, and who knows if he'll ever get another chance.

First mistake

It became clear yesterday his first mistake may have taken place during training camp, when he declared 2005 a rebuilding year.

"You're never going to hear me say that word," Bomber GM Brendan Taman said, after handing Daley the pink slip. "It's not in my vocabulary."

Now, Taman understood what Daley meant, but the perception surrounding the R word was this: the Bombers were probably going to lose this year.

Did that hand players an easy out?

All I can say is, if there are players on this team who leaned on a crutch like that, they'd better be shipped out of here, fast.

Of course, finding a coach who says the right things won't mean anything if there aren't some other significant changes in the way the Bombers do business.

Let's face it: Daley, with his faults, was still the victim of sub-par recruiting and an organization that spends less than most of its competitors. The best free agents just don't have Winnipeg on their speed dial.

The money issue isn't an excuse to lose, though. It just means you have to spend really smart. Target your weak spots, and go hard to fix them.

Because if you don't, and you aren't even in the playoff race, the fans stop paying and you wind up losing a few hundred thousand bucks -- money which could buy two or three top players.

It's like the old Fram oil filter commercial: you can pay me now, or pay me later.

The Bombers have to stop being cheap. That goes for paying the next head coach, too.

Which brings us to the man charged with finding him.

By firing Daley yesterday, Taman is admitting he blew it by hiring him in the first place.

"When we looked at the candidates last year that were available, we didn't think there was anyone who was better than Jim," Taman said.

Apparently, there must have been.

And if Taman doesn't find him this time, it'll tell us there's something else wrong. Something higher up in the chain of command.

That could lead to yet another nice guy getting his walking papers.

"It's not a fun day to go through, trust me," Taman said early in yesterday's address.

Get this one wrong, and he may find that out, first-hand.


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