Hall waiting for call?

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

Richie Hall doesn't read the newspaper or watch TV sportscasts.

So the only thing the Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive co-ordinator has heard -- from friends in Winnipeg -- is that his name has been mentioned in the media as a candidate to replace the fired Doug Berry as the Blue Bombers' new head coach.

Hall hasn't heard from Bombers president and CEO Lyle Bauer, however, so he will continue to do his year-end duties for the defending Grey Cup champs. Riders GM Eric Tillman said last night the Bombers have not asked for permission to speak to Hall.

Since Hall doesn't read the fish wrap or turn on the boob tube, he might not be aware that Edmonton Eskimos receivers coach Mike Kelly is the front-runner for the job, which is expected to come with the GM title as well.

"I wouldn't say (becoming a head coach) is my ultimate goal, but I would definitely welcome the opportunity," Hall said yesterday from Regina.

"I don't feel my career as a coach is validated or not validated by getting the opportunity to be a head coach. If I get the opportunity, I would love the chance."

Hall interviewed to become Winnipeg's head coach in 2005 (when Berry got the job), and he came away feeling good about his meeting with Bauer and GM Brendan Taman.

"I thought they hired a good person in Doug Berry, but at the same time you always wish that you get an opportunity," said Hall, who oversees one of the CFL's elite defences. "It was a good experience going through the process, talking to Lyle and Brendan, and it just didn't work out. Life has gone on. I thought Doug Berry's done a real good job there."

It wasn't good enough in Bauer's eyes, though, and now the big boss is scouring North America for a new field general. He hit the road last night to find the right man for the job, not knowing if he would be back in Winnipeg before heading to Montreal on Thursday for a few days of Grey Cup festivities.

'LOSERS'

Bauer said fewer people will be interviewed this time around than the "nine or 10" who got the chance in 2005.

"I'll obviously be in Montreal next week and may or may not see some people out there," he said. "We'll be gracious losers and let the people play who have earned the right to play in these two games this weekend and the one next weekend. We have not, out of respect for those who are playing, asked any teams for permission that are playing this weekend.

"We'll be pretty quiet from now until after that, but that doesn't mean things aren't going on. ... The profiling is being worked on, and I've spoken to a couple potential candidates that we have the right to speak to."

One of those candidates might have been Bombers defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall, who said yesterday, "There's not a whole lot to say right now. It's probably best left that way."

Marshall was the runner-up to Berry in 2005, and he hasn't given up his quest to land a head coaching gig in the three-down loop.

"The best way to say it is I'm interested in any head coaching position that comes open at this point in time," Marshall said. "I just want an opportunity."

As for the Berry firing, Marshall said it caught him and the rest of the assistants off guard.

"I was surprised," he said, "but hey, it's not my first rodeo."

Winnipeg isn't the only CFL team with a head coaching vacancy. The Toronto Argonauts are also one the lookout for a new leader after the retirement of Don Matthews last month.


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