Manny Matsakis

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:54 AM ET

Have whistle, will travel.

If there's a football team to coach, Manny Matsakis will give it a shot.

He sometimes moves between jobs rather quickly. So fast that he's still listed as the offensive co-ordinator for the Capital University (Ohio) Crusaders, his alma mater, on the team's website.

Which is odd, because he's the running backs coach for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Here's how it went down: Matsakis has known Bombers head coach Mike Kelly for 20 years, so in December he called to congratulate him when he got the top job on Maroons Road.

"And the next thing you know we're talking about guest coaching, and the next thing you know I'm here," said Matsakis, who became Winnipeg's running backs coach after Andy Cox failed to report for personal reasons.

Today, just three months into his first pro coaching job, Matsakis will essentially be running the offence for the Bombers when they take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Matsakis, a 47-year-old from Shadyside, Ohio, loves everything about football, which isn't surprising considering his dad was a high school coach and his brothers are now.

He even likes writing about the game; he founded American Football Quarterly Magazine in his basement when he was the head coach at Emporia State (Kan.) University in the mid-1990s. He eventually sold the magazine, which is now the highly successful American Football Monthly.

"It's the top trade journal for football coaches in the world," Matsakis said.

Winnipeg is the 11th stop on his coaching tour, but first in Canada. The former placekicker, an eighth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1984, loves his new hometown.

"One thing is, shockingly, some of the best restaurants I've ever seen, different types of places," said Matsakis, who honours his Greek heritage by making it back to the island of Karpathos every few years.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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