Bombers hire LaPolice

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:49 PM ET

Paul LaPolice has agreed to become the next head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, leaving Greg Marshall as the bridesmaid, yet again.

A source tells the Winnipeg Sun LaPolice was offered the job Wednesday and accepted it this morning. The Bombers will call a news conference to announce the hiring on Friday.

Terms of the deal were not immediately known.

The hiring of LaPolice is just the latest surprise in a whirlwind Bomber off-season, following the unexpected hiring of Joe Mack as general manager last month.

All signs, including private and public comments by Bomber board members, pointed to Mack hiring Marshall, the longtime CFL defensive co-ordinator, to succeed the fired Mike Kelly. Marshall and Mack met extensively in Toronto on Tuesday.

But Mack, who'd interviewed LaPolice, Saskatchewan's offensive co-ordinator, at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., last weekend, went back to the 40-year-old New Hampshire native Wednesday with a contract offer.

When LaPolice accepted, Marshall was on the outside, looking in, at the Winnipeg job for the third time, having finished as a runner-up to Doug Berry and Mike Kelly.

"It's just disappointing," Marshall told the Sun from his home in Hamilton. "I thought this might be the one."

Marshall wasn't sure why he lost out, guessing the Bombers might have been leaning to an offensive coach.

LaPolice is seen as a sharp offensive innovator who helped the Riders transition to Darian Durant as their starting quarterback last season.

One source calls him a detail-oriented coach whose schemes are well-respected throughout the league. His offence ranked just sixth in total yardage in the eight-team CFL last season, although Saskatchewan did advance to the Grey Cup, and was one play away from beating Montreal.

In 2008, with current Bomber Michael Bishop replacing Marcus Crandell at the helm midway through the season, LaPolice's offence also ranked No. 6. In 2007, when the Riders beat Winnipeg in the Grey Cup, he was the receivers coach.

LaPolice had mixed results as Winnipeg's offensive boss in 2002 and 2003.

His first year, the Bombers were an explosive offence that saw Khari Jones throw for 46 touchdowns, the third-best total in league history. Receiver Milt Stegall caught a record 23 of those.

In 2003, the Bomber attack tailed off considerably, and LaPolice, along with Jones, took the heat for that.


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