MONTREAL — Jeff Reinebold is the new defensive co-ordinator of the Montreal Alouettes.
The former Harley-driving head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will make his return to the CFL as he takes over the job vacated when defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar left for a position at Purdue University.
General manager Jim Popp said Friday he and coach Marc Trestman met with Reinebold over three days in Raleigh, N.C., this week.
The 54-year-old Reinebold had been a receivers coach at Southern Methodist University since 2006. But Popp said he has experience on both sides of the ball.
‘When Marc interviews people he challenges them,’ Popp said. ‘Marc is very impressed with his knowledge, ability and communication skills.’
Popp also said the team had no worries about Reinebold’s health.
In December, 2009 while surfing in Hawaii, Reinebold discovered an irritation on his stomach that never seemed to heal. Two months later, he had a lesion removed that turned out to be malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer.
Reinebold had a second operation a month later to remove some lymph nodes, which proved to be cancer-free.
When diagnosed, Reinebold vowed the beat the disease and continued working.
He was a popular figure with fans and media in Winnipeg when he was the Bombers’ head coach in 1997 and 1998. But he had little success on the field and was let go in October 1998 after compiling a 6-26 record.
‘Just because someone doesn’t have success as a head coach doesn’t mean they’re not a good head coach,’ said Popp. ‘Players like playing for him.
‘He does it with a lot of enthusiasm. As a college coach, he was a very successful recruiter.’
Popp said Reinebold will take on the added duty of coaching the defensive backs, or perhaps the linebackers. He said they have one more vacancy for a defensive assistant coach and it will depend on who is hired which extra job Reinebold will take on.
He also said they were close to signing an offensive line coach to replace Jonathan Himebauch, who left to become offensive coordinator in Toronto but then quit that job to work in the NCAA.
Before Winnipeg, Reinebold had been a CFL assistant coach with the B.C. Lions, Las Vegas Posse and Edmonton Eskimos. He has also worked in Europe.
Reinebold tipped he had been hired when the picture on his Twitter account was changed to an Alouettes logo.
Meanwhile, Popp did not rule out bringing Avon Cobourne back to Montreal, even if the team is happy with Brandon Whitaker at running back.
Cobourne was released this week after one season in Hamilton, where he signed as a free agent after helping Montreal win consecutive Grey Cups.
‘Never say never,’ said Popp. ‘But we went in a different direction with Whitaker last season.
‘But there’s always a possibility. Avon was a great player for us.’