Make up your minds

Should they stay or should they go? Ken Hildahl and the Bombers board of directors have a decision...

Should they stay or should they go? Ken Hildahl and the Bombers board of directors have a decision to make about the future of club president Lyle Bauer (pictured) and head coach Mike Kelly. For the sake of the franchise, they need to make an announcement one way or another. (Sun Media files)

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:09 AM ET

The club's president and CEO says everything is on hold.

The head coach calls it a state of limbo.

Since the 2009 football season's muted end three weeks ago, your Winnipeg Blue Bombers, it seems, have been spinning their wheels, going nowhere, fast.

The big boss, Lyle Bauer, and his hand-picked head coach, Mike Kelly, both have contracts for next year, a combined $450,000, at least, invested in the two.

And yet uncertainty swirls around both, like a pack of flies around a mangy dog.

While Kelly has vowed he'll be back for another year -- and his boss has backed that premise -- Bauer himself won't, or can't, offer the same guarantee about his own short-term future.

Each time he's asked, he's vague, choosing not to end the speculation he'll take a job elsewhere.

His comments often seem to send a volley in the direction of the board of directors: it's your move, folks.

I don't know if that's a challenge, or simply stating the obvious. Since Bauer is under contract, it would take a board intervention to oust him.

I'm not saying that's even being considered. However, if the board chooses to rid the team of Kelly, it would have to go through the man who backs him.

Chairman Ken Hildahl has said the board will take the usual two to three weeks to review the season and chart a course for 2010.

Well, time's up.

This organization, not to mention its fans, needs to know, one way or another, who'll be leading the charge next year.

It's not fair to drag this thing out any longer.

Not fair to the assistant coaches who might be wondering about their futures.

Not fair to the staff in charge of selling tickets and corporate packages. And not fair to those potentially buying those packages.

Those aren't just dollars people invest in the Blue Bombers. There's emotion invested, too. An expectation the franchise will not only provide a tangible return, but something to be proud of, too.

Since '09 ended in such inglorious fashion, the public, understandably, is in wait-and-see mode. So far, there's lots of waiting, but nothing to see.

Hildahl says the board isn't scheduled to meet again until mid-December, as part of its year-end review process.

That's too long to wait.

The CFL's moratorium on announcements is over. So make one. This week.

There are people on Maroons Road wondering who'll be back and who won't.

The rumour mill is at full throttle: one day Bauer is gone to take a job in Calgary, the next he and Kelly are fired, the next they're not.

It's not healthy. Bad for business, bad for morale.

It's one thing to have the uncertainty of the ownership change and new stadium hanging over the franchise. Yes, we wonder if David Asper's plan will come together by next fall.

But that's big-picture stuff that can be managed with solid, day-to-day direction -- provided by an entrenched, backed-by-the-boardroom president and CEO.

Uncertainty on the football side does nothing to improve the team, either. The CFL community is watching, wondering what, if anything, will happen.

It's time the board of directors makes a public decision. Either way.

There are those who expect and prefer, maybe even demand, a change in the front office, and those who would back the status quo.

You may lose some of them by making a decision.

But you gain nobody's trust or respect by sitting on your hands and doing nothing.

It's like facing a third-and-goal from the two-yard line.

The decision to kick a field goal or gamble can go either way.

But making it decisively is half the battle.

Contact Paul at paul.friesen@sunmedia.ca or 632-2788.


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