Berry among final three

Winnipeg Blue Bombers coach Doug Berry (left) is up against Wally Buono of the B.C. Lions and Mike...

Winnipeg Blue Bombers coach Doug Berry (left) is up against Wally Buono of the B.C. Lions and Mike 'Pinball' Clemons of the Toronto Argos for coach of the year award. (Sun Media File/Jason Halstead)

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

You might say that even the nomination has made him a trifle uneasy.

The CFL named Winnipeg's Doug Berry as one of the three finalists for Coach of the Year yesterday.

"I hope it's worth a congratulations," the Blue Bombers mentor responded yesterday.

"I've seen what's happened to other CFL coaches who have won it over the years."

Berry was referring to the number of head men who lost their jobs shortly after winning the honour, the latest being Hamilton's Greg Marshall, the 2004 winner who was fired early last season.

A curse then, should he win?

"It would not be, it just seems that way in the CFL," said Berry.

Wally Buono, head coach/GM of the Grey Cup champion B.C. Lions, and Toronto Argonauts head man Mike (Pinball) Clemons were the other nominees. The winner will be named at the annual Coach of the Year Celebration in Montreal, Feb. 13.

Berry, who had been Montreal's offensive co-ordinator, turned around a team that had faltered to a 5-13 finish in 2005, leading the Bombers to a 9-9 record and their first post-season berth since 2003.

"I take satisfaction in that this team came together and understood what it means to be good," Berry said. "And I had good coaches who helped me deliver the message of what it means to be successful.

"We've had three coaches hired by other organizations and that's a testament to us that we had great coaches working with us. I consider that an honour."

Hamilton has hired both quarterbacks coach Mike Working and secondary coach Gregg Butler while sources say that Saskatchewan is about to announce Mike Gibson as its new offensive line coach.

Berry will not get a bonus for the nomination, nor will he demand a raise. Nor will this change his approach.

"I'll coach the same way next year," he said.

"Doug and I are kind of parallel when it comes to things like this, we don't get all caught up in it," said Bombers GM Brendan Taman. "It is a nice gesture and it's a credit to Doug and his staff."

And a credit to the GM who gambled on a man who had never been a CFL head mentor.

"He's an astute football guy and I just had a good vibe about him," Taman said. "He also moved here and more credit to him for that."


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