Marshall never had a chance

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:05 PM ET

Greg Marshall isn't experiencing the same disappointment he felt last December when he finished second to Doug Berry in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' coaching search.

That's because, this time around, the Bombers defensive co-ordinator never had a chance.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will introduce Charlie Taaffe as their new head coach today, officially ending this fall's CFL coaching carousel that -- technically -- consisted of three openings.

The only catch is, according to Marshall, none of the three positions were ever really open.

"The frustration this time is the fact that there wasn't really a legitimate chance, because they were pretty much done the moment they opened up," Marshall said yesterday from Edmonton. "There's not a lot you can do."

Montreal GM Jim Popp decided to remain as head coach of the Alouettes, while Saskatchewan Roughriders GM Eric Tillman hired Kent Austin, who was fired as Toronto's offensive co-ordinator in August.

The Ticats asked the Bombers for permission to speak with Marshall, but they spent the last few weeks waiting for Taaffe to pursue U.S. college coaching positions that obviously didn't pan out.

Marshall, 50, was never interviewed by the Tabbies.

"It was a different process than some of the other ones that I've been involved with," he said. "I guess the disappointment on my end just comes from the fact that there really wasn't an opportunity to really get involved in any of those situations."

So while Marshall is disappointed, most Bomber fans are no doubt happy that their defensive co-ordinator will likely return in 2007.

"We're gonna have some discussions with (GM) Brendan (Taman) and (head coach) Doug (Berry) and see what we can work out," Marshall said. "(Returning to Winnipeg) would be the first choice at this point in time."

Berry officially offered a contract to Marshall last week. When asked how fair that contract was, Marshall politely declined to answer.

It's obvious the Bombers should do whatever they can to retain Marshall. This season he helped turn around a Bomber defence that allowed the most yards and most passing yards in CFL history in 2005.

Some potential Bombers free agents even indicated at season's end that their decisions would depend on whether Marshall was back or not.

Marshall, who has been a CFL assistant for 13 seasons, won't give up the pursuit of his first head coaching job.

"I'm just going to keep doing what I do -- work hard at whatever job I hold and keep throwing it out there, that I can do a good job," Marshall said. "People will know that you're capable of it, and sooner or later an opportunity will present itself.

"I'm certainly not going to stop trying, that's for sure."


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