REGINA -- Greg Marshall slipped on a Saskatchewan Roughriders jacket Wednesday, smiling broadly as he took over his new role as the team's head coach.
"That feels good," Marshall, 54, said at a news conference in the Riders' locker-room at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.
"I'm just very excited to be here. I look forward to working with a great group of people throughout the organization from the top all the way down. Extremely excited about the group of players that are here and looking forward to working with those men."
The announcement of Marshall as the club's 28th coach came after weeks of not-so-secret speculation about who might replace Ken Miller.
Miller guided Saskatchewan to the Grey Cup in 2009 and 2010, although the Riders fell to Montreal in both championship games. Miller announced he would be stepping down as head coach Dec. 2 to focus on his position as the Riders' vice-president of football operations.
Miller helped hired Marshall.
"It was a thorough search, a comprehensive search and we looked for a lot of qualities in our football coach," said Miller.
"Primarily the things we were looking for is an excellent football coach, a coach of great character, a coach who wanted to and would fit into our culture of the Rider nation and then a coach who has the reputation of being a players coach, a coach who fit right into our locker-room and be an excellent fit in that way."
Miller said Marshall's familiarity with the team and the market will be an asset.
Marshall started coaching in the CFL in 1994 in Saskatchewan. He was team's defensive line coach for two seasons before adding the title of defensive co-ordinator. Marshall left the Riders in 1999 for other coaching positions and was most recently the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' defensive co-ordinator for the past two seasons.
"I have very good memories of my time in here in Regina," said Marshall.
"It's kind of ironic, I started my first CFL coaching career here and now I'm getting my first opportunity as a head coach here so it's kind of come full circle a little bit I guess. That kind of makes it special."
Marshall has been passed over for head coaching positions in the past and then Riders' GM Brendan Taman called.
"I got to admit when Brendan called me, I was a little bit numb. I almost wanted to say 'You sure you dialled the right number?' But I was obviously very ecstatic when I got it," said Marshall.
"It's kind of ironic because every year, for a number of years running, people in the media had me pegged as being ... the most likely assistant coach to be chosen as a head coach. And it seemed like for years running I was always number one or number two and it never seemed to materialize."
"But you know, sometimes the right situation takes a while to come along and the right fit. I'm happy that it worked out this way. This just feels right," he added.
Marshall also played in the CFL for nine years and was a highly regarded defensive lineman for the Ottawa Rough Riders. He was named a four-time Eastern all-star, two-time CFL all-star and was the league's defensive player of the year in 1983.
Marshall said his priority will be to get the rest of the coaching staff in place. Marshall wouldn't talk about who might fill those positions, but said he doesn't think it will be difficult to put together a good coaching staff.
He said the organization is the envy of many others in the league.
"A lot places when these types of openings come up it's because there hasn't been success and you're starting on the ground floor and you're trying to build it back up. Obviously that's not the case here," said Marshall. "The challenge is to keep the train rolling and on track and enhance what is already in place."