Quick End to A Coach
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Looking back, it's peculiar just how outraged the Argonaut owners were last January when their recruitment of Bart Andrus as head coach was met with some criticism.
They thought they'd hit a home run, made a brilliant hire.
The idea, from Toronto's point of view, was that in Andrus they had a football mind the equal of Marc Trestman in Montreal, or at least a reasonable facsimile.
Well, as it turns out, not even close. Twinning an American with little or no knowledge of the three-down game with a talent depleted Argo roster turned out to be a lethal combination. Having no quarterback in a quarterback-driven league wasn't compensated by the fact Andrus had once coached the position in the NFL, and the suggestion that Andrus would bring order and discipline to a chaotic Toronto dressing room turned out to be a laughable suggestion.
All it did, really, was cost the team the services of playmaker Arland Bruce III when he ran afoul of Andrus.
The Argos as a group have had a lot of big decisions go bad in recent seasons, including the addition of Ricky Williams, the disastrous trade for Kerry Joseph, the return of Don Matthews and the hiring of Andrus. Andrus was just the latest U.S. coach to come north preaching “football is football,” which is exactly the opposite of what Trestman did when he was hired by Montreal and immediately sought to adapt his ideas to the Canadian game.
At the same time Andrus was failing, just down the highway Canadian-born Marcel Bellefeuille was doing a nice job under Bob O'Billovich in Hamilton, suggesting the Argos, when it came to hiring a head coach, zigged when they should have zagged.
Really, from Rich Stubler to Matthews to Andrus, the Argos have made three consecutive boffo errors when it came to filling the head coaching position.
Is that Adam Rita? Or owners David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski?
Dumping Andrus was, however, the right thing to do, and you have to give the Argo braintrust some credit for not stubbornly sticking by Andrus in the absence of convincing evidence he was going to be able to turn the football team around.
So now what? With a possible move to BMO Field in the offing, the Argos need to return in June with a decidedly more competitive operation. Perhaps Pinball Clemons might be interested in coming back, but that's doubtful. There will be the usual speculation on CFL assistants – Mike Benevides of B.C, who almost took the job last time, George Cortez in Calgary, maybe even offensive co-ordinator Paul LaPolice in Saskatchewan – and names with CFL connections like Matt Dunigan and Mike Riley and Tom Clements.
But they can't get it wrong for a fourth time in a row. This time, whether it's Rita or the owners, there is a desperate need to hit a home run. A real one this time.