Bauer brushes off speculation

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

The Grey Cup is over, the party favours have been put away, the last beer has been drunk, and it's time for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to get back to work.

Despite persistent rumours, rumblings and gut feelings from people close to the team that president and CEO Lyle Bauer is about to ride off into the sunset, the big boss says it's business as usual.

However, when asked directly if he's staying on board, he didn't say yes or no.

"I don't even know why anybody's asking that," Bauer said yesterday from Calgary, which is where the rumours say he's going. "I'm going back to go to work (this) afternoon. So there we are.

"... I'm not even going to comment on speculation or rumours or anything along those lines, because it doesn't serve me much productive purpose."

From the outside, it appears to be full steam ahead. Bauer has declared that he wants Mike Kelly to be his coach, and the president is the one who makes that call.

As long as Bauer stays and the board of directors decides it wants to keep him around, then it should be status quo when it comes to the team's management and coaching group.

The Bomber board of governors isn't expected to meet until mid-December for its usual year-end review, and Bauer said the usual process will continue until that meeting.

"Football people are going through things, addressing our needs and getting ready for bowl games," he said. "Season ticket renewals and corporate sponsorships have already started.

"And there's certainly some reports that are going to be given and made to the board, and some of them have already been received by the board."

While there are some disgruntled fans who have said they won't spend another dime on the Bombers until Kelly is no longer the head coach, Bauer said the fan anger is no worse than it usually is for a team that hasn't won a CFL title in 19 years.

"I haven't heard anything in that regard -- or very little, I will say," Bauer said. "I haven't heard any more or less in that regard than I have about stadium and ownership issues from sponsors or fans."

NO BIG DEAL: Bauer said Kelly got into an argument with a man in a bar during Grey Cup week, but he added the head coach was not at fault and handled the situation well.

Bauer heard from a team sponsor who witnessed the incident that an inebriated man was "verbally assaulting" Kelly's female companion in a Calgary bar. Kelly had words with the man but soon left the establishment, Bauer said.

Bauer added that his children were also verbally assaulted in Calgary while wearing their Bomber jerseys, and he was not impressed.

"Alcohol is not an excuse," he said.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos