Kelly granted staff wish

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:53 AM ET

Mike Kelly wants the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to have some stability, and that's good news for the eight people who will end up on his coaching staff this season.

The new Bombers head coach has been given the OK by club president and CEO Lyle Bauer to offer two-year contracts to his assistants, who will be revealed later this month.

"I want a consistent message sent to the players for an extended time," Kelly said over the weekend from Philadelphia.

Two assistants who served under Doug Berry, receivers coach Bob Dyce and defensive line boss Richard Harris, have verbally committed to joining Kelly's staff. So has Don Burrell, who played for the Bombers in the early 1980s and most recently helped coach the Blue and Gold's secondary on a part-time basis.

It's believed that Mark Nelson, who worked with Kelly at Valdosta State University in the late 1990s, will serve as Winnipeg's new defensive co-ordinator, while Ronnie Vinklarek, who coached with Kelly in Edmonton last season, will guide the offensive line.

'I'M EXCITED'

"I believe I have my staff intact now," Kelly said. "... I'm excited about the guys that have given me verbal commitments. We've got a ton of CFL experience in all three facets of the game.

"It was important to me that I also found people that had a real strong understanding of the special teams part of the game. I knew I was solid offensively and defensively, but I really wanted to get strong special teams-wise.

"I saw too many games last year from a number of clubs get lost because of special teams."

Kelly chuckled when asked if he could confirm reports out of Kentucky that Nelson, who coached the University of Louisville's special teams last season, has put his house on the market.

"It could be," Kelly said. "You just never know what the whole situation is. Maybe he didn't like the house. The plumbing might be bad. You just don't know."

Kelly will also be bringing back intern David Siddall as a special assistant to the head coach.

"He worked all last year for no reimbursement at all," Kelly said. "He was just trying to get his foot in the door. I looked at our salary structure, and I'm going to be able to give him some kind of pay for his efforts."


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