Now that Khari Jones is returning as the Alouettes’ head coach — the two sides reached agreement on a three-year deal during Grey Cup week in Calgary, the Montreal Gazette has learned — and until the team’s ownership situation is settled, the next order of business will be hiring a general manager.
It would be easy for the Als to hire someone with experience. Should the Canadian Football League team go that route, the three leading candidates could be Eric Tillman, Brendan Taman and Danny Maciocia.
Tillman has experience with British Columbia, Toronto, the Ottawa Renegades, Saskatchewan, Edmonton and, most recently, Hamilton. He has won three Grey Cups and, at the very least, deserves to be interviewed by president Patrick Boivin.
Taman, currently out of football, was the GM at both Winnipeg and Saskatchewan, while Maciocia is a former Edmonton GM and head coach. Now the coach at Université de Montréal, Maciocia has led the Carabins to three Vanier Cup appearances, and one title, since 2014. The Carabins lost Saturday’s championship game to the University of Calgary.
But it’s also possible Boivin and the organization will think outside the box and hire someone with vast CFL experience, but who has never been a GM.
It shouldn’t be forgotten Boivin has enlisted the services of Wally Buono, the former B.C. GM and head coach, in an advisory role. Buono will probably recommend former colleagues Neil McEvoy and/or Geroy Simon — perhaps a combination of the two — for the job.
Those two seemingly would work well with Jones — a key component in this scenario, because the Als have hired a coach before the GM — who came to Montreal after being the Lions’ offensive coordinator.
McEvoy, the Lions’ director of football operations, has held that position five years, but has been with the organization for 24. He handles many of the daily football operations activities, including player contracts, training camp and travel logistics and scouting preparation. He also plays a key role in the evaluation of Canadian talent for the CFL draft.
Simon, the former standout receiver, is the Lions’ director of Canadian scouting and draft coordinator. He has spent five seasons in football operations and, in 2018, said he was ready to become a GM.
Two members of the Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers also deserve consideration.
Danny McManus is the Bombers’ assistant GM and director of U.S. scouting. A former CFL quarterback for 17 seasons, McManus has been with Winnipeg since December 2013.
He scours the U.S. for talent while working closely with GM Kyle Walters in helping shape the roster and the team’s negotiation list. McManus also organizes the team’s free-agent tryout camps held throughout the U.S. during the winter.
Before joining the Bombers, McManus worked as a scout with Hamilton from 2009-13. He originally was hired as a regional scout before becoming the Tiger-Cats’ head U.S. scout. He was an offensive assistant coach with the team in 2008.
Ted Goveia also serves as an assistant GM with Winnipeg along with being the team’s director of player personnel. He has been with the Bombers for six years. He held the same role with Toronto between 2010-13.
Ottawa assistant GM Jeremy Snyder and Jean-Marc Edmé, the Redblacks’ director of player personnel, both spent time with the Als.
Snyder joined the Redblacks in March 2013 as the director of football administration along with serving as a pro and college scout. He was promoted to assistant GM in May 2017.
He began his CFL career with the Als in 2010, working under former GM Jim Popp as a scouting assistant. He became a full-time employee the following season, assuming many key roles in the team’s scouting department. Snyder also has NFL experience with the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles.
Edmé, meanwhile, spent eight years with the Als under Popp, where his duties included scouting university and pro players. He also served as a defensive assistant under former head coach Marc Trestman.
Edmé has spent 13 seasons in the CFL, including the last four with Ottawa. He joined the Redblacks in January 2016 as the player personnel coordinator before being promoted to the director of player personnel. He’s also bilingual.
The Als’ GM position, however, won’t be for everyone. Normally, the manager is hired first and his responsibility is to find a coach with whom he can work. Because the Als have gone about this unconventionally, any potential GM will want to know how the power will be divided and who will answer to whom. If the GM doesn’t have full autonomy, that could eliminate many potential candidates.