Rick Campbell (centre) with Redblacks GM Marcel Desjardins and co-owner Jeff Hunt (Mike Carroccetto for Yahoo! Canada Sports)
To succeed, the new Ottawa Redblacks have to straddle a gulf as wide as the Rideau Canal that passes by their soon-to-be-finished stadium.
Keep a clean slate and a safe distance from the bizarre and burlesque that characterized the CFL in the nation's capital for three decades of the Roughriders and Renegades. But evoke a sense of tradition, that illusion of permanency, for the hardcore fans whom co-owner Jeff Hunt once said "would sit on tacks" to watch a game, so that spreads out to an audience on the fence about the three-down game.
They get that in Rick Campbell — no association with a head coaching experience that didn't work out in another city, but someone who grew up steeped in the CFL. Campbell's spent 15 years as an assistant thinking about how he might go about running a team.
"When we first interviewed Rick, it was early December," GM Marcel Desjardins said during Friday's press conference to introduce the 42-year-old Campbell as the Redblacks' first coach, be it head guy or assistant. "It was a lengthy session but he kept us engaged the whole time. With his detail, with his level of knowledge of this league. One of the things that was key in the decision was to find somebody who was well-versed in the CFL because they would know all these little intricacies.
"His first interview, he hit it out of the park. The second interview, which was a lot shorter, that same feeling kept coming back and back again. It was a really easy decision to make."
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