The Grey Cup has the attention of the entire nation this weekend, however the staff of Ottawa RedBlacks is focused on an event that is a few weeks away.
With the December 16th expansion draft less than a month away, Ottawa is yet to hire a head coach but general manager Marcel Desjardins plans to use this weekend to rub elbows with prospective head coaches.
"We all know how important this hire is going to be. So we have to put in our due diligence," Desjardins told the Ottawa Sun. "Without getting into specifics, there are some coaches interested who you may be familiar with from the past and some not quite as familiar; some are intriguing, some are not."
A source told The Sun the RedBlacks have spoken with former Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach and current TSN analyst, Paul LaPolice.
Also on the list of candidates are former Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach Marcel Bellefeuille, who joined the Blue Bombers as offensive co-ordinator in mid-season and Calgary Stampeders offensive co-ordinator Dave Dickenson. Bellefeuille is from Ottawa, went to Ridgemont High School and later played, then coached with the Gee-Gees.
Desjardins is prepared to let the timing of the coaching process play itself out.
"In an ideal world, we'd have somebody in place (before the expansion draft)," he told the Sun. "But we could go into January without a coach. It's not like we control all the elements. It's not like we're the only team who's looking for a coach."
Desjardins has an idea of his criteria for the next head man.
"(Whoever we hire) has to have CFL experience, not necessarily as a head coach," he said. "That doesn't mean he has to have been a coach this year. We're not going to reach out to people we know don't have a chance of getting the job.
"It's a three-step process. First, there's an informal get-to-know interview. Then, there's a more detailed discussion, more specific to football. Give us reasons why we should hire you. In some cases, we've had to combine steps 1 and 2. In step No. 3, we get into more detail."