November 8, 2007

Hamilton after O’Billovich?

Hamilton eyes up B.C. talent guru for GM job

By Lowell Ullrich,
Vancouver Province

It would take a perfect fit for Bob O’Billovich to leave one of the most important jobs in the B.C. Lions organization. But the next month could determine whether there is a better opportunity not far from his front door.

No sooner had the Hamilton Tiger-Cats fired Marcel Desjardins as their GM this week when speculation was raised once again that the Lions’ director of personnel could become the replacement.

O’Billovich restated his position Tuesday that he would be interested in a job like the Hamilton vacancy, but not until the end of the CFL season.

“Every time somebody looks for somebody my name comes up,” he said. “There aren’t too many [jobs] I’m interested in because of where I live and our family situation. It would have to be someplace close by.”

Hamilton doesn’t get much closer. O’Billovich and his family live in nearby Oakville, Ont., and in the recent past had an addition at the breakfast table. With wife, Judy, the couple is caring for a two-year-old grandson after their daughter-in-law died of a stroke 18 months ago.

Tiger-Cats president Scott Mitchell said he was looking for a replacement with CFL experience and with five decades in the league, nobody comes closer to filling the bill than O’Billovich.

His name indeed is raised with every CFL job opening, though some carry more pitfalls than others. The last came a year before before the Ottawa Renegades went into limbo.

Losing O’Billovich would be a distinct setback for the Lions, who have been replenished annually with players discovered by the 67-year-old recruiter, the latest being top defensive and rookie nominee Cameron Wake.

B.C. has not been approached for permission to speak with O’Billovich, but he can contractually pursue any opening like the Hamilton job. However, he stressed. he is in no hurry to take the first offering that comes along.

“I’m in a good situation. I can ride this out until I decide to pack it in,” he said.