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Coach Rick Campbell leaving: 'I didn't think the status quo was best for the Redblacks'

An emotional Rick Campbell fought back tears as he talked about stepping down as the Ottawa Redblacks head coach late Monday morning.

Three days after the Redblacks wrapped up a horrible 3-15 season, Campbell told a huge crowd of media folks during a press conference it was a tough day because he was very emotionally attached to the team, the football fans and the city.

“There are some pretty magic moments I won’t forget, I’m going to remember to remember those moments,” said Campbell, who then paused for more than half a minute to gather his composure. “I’d say I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry, I’m sad. Going down Bank St. in the Grey Cup parade, are you kidding me? Literally, through my neighbourhood. That’s good s— right there, pardon my language. I’m going to remember the good stuff, I appreciate it.”

Campbell, who had one year remaining on his contract, was the Redblacks coach from Day One – from 2014 right through this season. Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, owners of the Redblacks,agreed to pay Campbell for the 2020 season and will allow him to seek employment elsewhere.

Asked why he was leaving, with talk of disagreement with some of the organizational decisions made by GM Marcel Desjardins, Campbell said: “I didn’t think the status quo was best for the Redblacks going forward and decisions were made from there. Not to get into all the specifics, but I really didn’t like it when there were people who left here with a bad taste in their mouth – the list was getting a little long. You have to treat people well, you have to treat them right, empower them, value them. If you do that, people will go through the wall for you, if you don’t, it can make it tougher.

“I’ve been thinking about it. It was hard to even come to the idea of thinking about it because I’m so ingrained in the community. To give all that up, there had to be some pretty solid reasons. I know I’m being a little vague, but that’s what I would say.”

Campbell, who turns 49 Dec. 20, led the Redblacks to the Grey Cup in just their second season. The following year, in 2016, the Redbacks won the Grey Cup, beating the Calgary Stampeders 39-33 in overtime – the first CFL championship for an Ottawa team since 1976.

“I’m as surprised as everybody else by this outcome,” said Desjardins. “My expectation was Rick would be back and we’d work together to try and get this thing straightened out. Today is kind of a strange day, an unexpected day. Rick’s a good guy, he takes everything to heart – he and I are similar in a lot of ways. Honestly, it’s a little unfortunate it hasn’t played out the way we would have liked to for next year. Also, the way this season unravelled, it became difficult for him.

“I take complete responsibility for everything, but I also know all of the success we’ve had in the past, it was a group effort. As much as I’m the person to answer for this, there are a lot of things that happened, some of those were under my control. But there are a lot of things that didn’t work out – whether it be on the coaching side or injuries – that’s unfortunate, but at the end of the day, it’s my fault, it’s my responsibility.”

Campbell began his coaching career in 1996 at the University of Oregon where he served as a graduate assistant with the Ducks’ coaching staff, helping with the defensive secondary and special teams.

He made his CFL debut in 1999 with the Edmonton Eskimos as defensive secondary and special teams co-ordinator, spending the next six seasons in that role before being promoted to defensive coordinator from 2005-2008. He moved to Winnipeg in 2009 as defensive backs and special team co-ordinator with the Blue Bombers before returning to Alberta to coach the running backs with the Stampeders in 2010. In 2011, Campbell became assistant head coach and special teams co-ordinator with the Eskimos before taking on the defensive co-ordinator title back in Calgary in 2012, where he spent two seasons before moving to Ottawa.

Campbell, who’s from the state of Washington, became a Canadian citizen on July 1, 2012.

Before the first season, Campbell told Postmedia: “Football is naturally a rollercoaster ride. When you win, you’re on top of the world, when you lose, it’s tough, it makes for long weeks. You need to make sure you don’t accentuate that. Maybe we’re a bit naive in a good way. The thing that’s unique about sports is your performance is sitting on the scoreboard. You can see the results right there. I feel responsibility to do this right for Ottawa.”

Campbell, who had one year remaining on his contract, was the Redblacks coach from Day One – from 2014 right through this season.

On December 6, 2013, Campbell walked to a microphone in front of a large gathering of reporters at the City of Ottawa archives building on Tallwood Drive in Nepean. “Bonjour tout le monde,” were the first words he spoke after being introduced. At the time, the team had only five players under contract.

Campbell, who turns 49 Dec. 20, led the Redblacks to the Grey Cup in just their second season. The following year, in 2016, the Redblacks won the Grey Cup, beating the Calgary Stampeders 39-33 in overtime – the first CFL championship for an Ottawa team since 1976.

Campbell began his coaching career in 1996 at the University of Oregon where he served as a graduate assistant with the Ducks’ coaching staff, helping with the defensive secondary and special teams.

He made his CFL debut in 1999 with the Edmonton Eskimos as defensive secondary and special teams co-ordinator, spending the next six seasons in that role before being promoted to defensive coordinator from 2005-2008. He moved to Winnipeg in 2009 as defensive backs and special team co-ordinator with the Blue Bombers before returning to Alberta to coach the running backs with the Stampeders in 2010. In 2011, Campbell became assistant head coach and special teams co-ordinator with the Eskimos before taking on the defensive co-ordinator title back in Calgary in 2012, where he spent two seasons before moving to Ottawa.

Campbell, who’s from the state of Washington, became a Canadian citizen on July 1, 2012.

Before the first season, Campbell told Postmedia: “Football is naturally a rollercoaster ride. When you win, you’re on top of the world, when you lose, it’s tough, it makes for long weeks. You need to make sure you don’t accentuate that. Maybe we’re a bit naive in a good way. The thing that’s unique about sports is your performance is sitting on the scoreboard. You can see the results right there. I feel responsibility to do this right for Ottawa.”


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Source: edmontonsun.com