From Skipper to First Mate?
A lot of guys would have turned that offer down before the GM had a chance to even finish his pitch.
But Tom Renney isn't into titles, he's into winning. And he's pretty sure the coaching staff being assembled in Edmonton gives him a chance to do exactly that.
So after five seasons as the head man in New York, he has no problem with being Pat Quinn's associate with the Oilers.
"When you're making decisions with respect to your career, you want to, first and foremost, identify with good people," he said at the news conference announcing the hires yesterday. "So this was obviously a no-brainer. This was a slam dunk."
Renney could have been a head coach somewhere else this season, but would rather be reunited with a couple of men he knows and respects in Quinn and GM Steve Tambellini. He says he wouldn't have taken a position like this one if it was with anyone else.
"I don't know if this would work with anyone else, to be honest with you," he said. "We're all driven to run our own programs, but I think a ton of Pat. I think this works. I really think this works because of the people involved here, from Kevin (Lowe) to Steve to Pat to myself. I want to do everything I can within Pat's framework to bring a winning team to this organization, put people in the stands who are proud of the product on the ice."
Clearly, ego isn't an issue here.
"I think it speak volumes about Tom Renney," said Tambellini. "Not just as a professional but as a person. Tom's priority was he believed in the strength of the group."
Very much so.
"This is something that I completely embrace, without a doubt," said the 54-year-old Cranbrook native. "There were options, but it comes down to the people you're able to surround yourself with.
"I have no problem with (being an associate). Some might suggest it's a step backward, I don't happen to believe that. It's a group of people that just make a lot of sense. God willing, with us doing our jobs properly, we should be formidable."
Quinn calls the final shot, but says Renney, a strong tactical mind, will play a major role in the direction of the hockey club.
"I know for sure it's not a one-man show, that's not the way I've operated anywhere," said Quinn. "I've used different setups in the past and that's part of us coming together now. What I was pleased about as we were working to put this group together was the person - I know his work ethic, I know his intelligence and his knowledge of the game. I know what he's going to bring from that standpoint.
"As far as an actual job description, we'll work on that, but it's people who carry things out that's important. Together we hope to be a really strong staff."
They aren't carbon copies, but they are passionate hockey men who approach coaching the same way - strategize, teach, show respect and accept nothing but 100% commitment.
"There's no question that we'll challenge each other in our way of thinking about certain parts of the game. I think that's vital to the growth and development of your team," said Renney. "That being said, I think philosophically we line up really well. We like the game played the same way."
Hard. Renney coached an offensive, puck possession style in New York and says it's the only style that will work here.
"We have to be an attacking team based on what this roster looks like, without a doubt. Like any coaching staff, you look at your personnel and develop a system around them that's going to give them success. I think this team here can play a hard-charging game.
"There's a pool of potential there that's yet to be tapped. The time is right. MacT did everything he could to extract everything he could, now it's time for a different voice that gives people a chance to rise above what they were and identify more of what they could be."