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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

LATEST ON THE ALS COACHING SEARCH

Byline: Herb Zurkowsky
Montreal Gazette

MONTREAL -- Although former Alouettes defensive back Mark Washington was invited to southern Florida last week to interview with owner Robert Wetenhall and general manager Jim Popp, he’ll remain with the British Columbia Lions for the upcoming season.

That much was established by the Lions on Monday, when they called a press conference to deal with a variety of subjects.

The Als are seeking a head coach to replace Marc Trestman, who signed with the Chicago Bears. Washington is one of many candidates who traveled to Palm Beach, Fla., the site of Wetenhall’s winter residence.

Popp and the Als were under a Jan. 31 deadline in which to make Washington an offer. That deadline passed without an offer being made. Indeed, B.C. head coach Mike Benevides told the Vancouver Province he was advised no contract offer would be forthcoming.

“When they called and said this was for the head coaching spot, I wanted to make sure my ears weren’t blocked,” Washington told the Province. “These are the goals that you have.

“You can look at it as a point of frustration, but it’s about gaining every experience,” he added. “It’s my job to learn and understand the lessons I can grab. There’s more to learn. I want to be the best coach I can be. I can say I’m frustrated, but obviously I’m not done yet.”

This is the second consecutive winter in which the Als have expressed an interest in Washington. A year ago, they requested permission to interview Washington to become defensive co-ordinator. Again, the Lions’ deadline passed without an offer being made and the Als subsequently hired Jeff Reinebold.

Reinebold’s contract wasn’t renewed after last season. He has been replaced by Noel Thorpe,

Washington played for the Als from 1997 until 2002. He completed his career with the Lions, playing out west from 2003-07. He has coached the team’s defensive backs the last five seasons.

Meanwhile, although the Als requested permission to interview Jacques Chapdelaine, the Lions’ offensive co-ordinator and quarterbacks coach, he removed himself from the equation almost immediately, claiming the timing wasn’t right. Chapdelaine wasn’t invited for the first wave of interviews. But neither was Washington.

“I’m not naive enough to think one individual goes into a new situation as a new head coach and makes a difference without a proper staff. And I don’t think I could have guaranteed to have the time to get the (right) people,” Chapdelaine told the Province. “I really didn’t feel comfortable with the timeline. It wasn’t fair to B.C. The reality is, if things had turned out positive, I wouldn’t have felt right.”

Meanwhile, the Als could be close to naming their new coach. Paul Harris, Wetenhall’s Montreal-based lawyer and the team’s chairman (board of governors) flew to Florida on Monday.

Harris said he’s there for regularly-scheduled CFL board of governors meetings.

Among the candidates Popp has identified as being interviewed include Jim Zorn, who coached quarterback Anthony Calvillo at Utah State, along with former NCAA coach Dan Hawkins and former NFL assistant Turk Schonert.


http://blogs.montrealgazette.com/2013/02/04/washington-to-remain-with-lions/

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