This Saturday, both the Ottawa Redblacks and former Winnipeg Blue Bombers Offensive Co-ordinator agreed on a 3 year contract which left LaPolice as the Redblacks next head coach.
After Rick Campbell and the Redblacks decided to move on over a month ago, this has been known as a great move by the organization. LaPolice has been a well known offensive co-ordinator for the past few seasons after going to the Grey Cup as the Bombers head coach in 2011 he was then known as one on the CFL on TSN panel with his very own segment “The Coach’s playbook”.
Since the time as the coach on TSN, he has been an offensive mastermind with the Winnipeg Blue-Bombers! LaPolice was found calling plays for Winnipeg in 2016 al the way to the Grey Cup just two weeks ago.
Just two weeks ago, Paul LaPolice and his family were a part of Winnipeg’s big celebration about their big Grey Cup win, but that didn’t distract him to being a part of the Redblacks interview process. After being a part of 2 interviews with Marcel Desjardins, the two worked out a 3-year contract.
Just 2 days after the announcement on social media, the Redblacks and Paul LaPolice ended up having a press conference in light of the big news.
Following the press conference, I was granted the opportunity to have an interview and a laugh with Paul LaPolice about his new job and a few jokes.
Zlomislic: In the time you spent here in Ottawa, you coached multiple games here in Ottawa, what did you like most about playing here?
LaPolice: “I didn’t like many things because we had a lot of real close games here in Ottawa, I believe we had an overtime game and a ‘drive to win’ game also. I might not have liked those games at the time, but now that I’m a part of Ottawa, those games can be crucial and the fans got really involved. Everytime I coached at TD place, I expected a battle. You’re on the road, nice stadium, and one of the loudest crowds I didn’t find a reason not to like the games played here.”
Zlomislic: Those games played in Ottawa, you were a part of an away team, now you will be with the home team here at TD Place. How does it feel to be a part of the home side?
LaPolice: “It is exciting, as I said in the conference earlier I hope to make an impact and make this the loudest fan base in the east. Ottawa has a really young fan base, and they care about football. As a head coach, you like working in a place which cherishes their football and that is something Ottawa does. Not only does the fan base care, so does the management. Just to look back, Rick Campbell and his staff did a great job of bringing this team to the top of the league and I look to do the same.“
Zlomislic: After winning the Grey Cup with Winnipeg, you had the chance to go back for round two, but instead you took on the challenge to come to Ottawa. What sold you on the idea of working here?
LaPolice: “Certainly, the idea of being a head coach was really attractive and secondly the idea of coaching in this city kind of settled me in. I believe this team is one of the best organizations in the CFL and with the facilities, management and fan base it had around it gave me a great decision to work here in Ottawa.”
Zlomislic: After signing up on Saturday, today’s press conference was the first activity for you in Ottawa. What are your first impressions of Ottawa?
LaPolice: “Well, the impressions are great. Last week following my interview, I walked around the Christmas Market here at TD Place and it really got me into the Christmas spirit. The restaurants are good, and everyone seems to be much ore festive than I’m used to in Winnipeg. They had open fires out there, games for kids and I feel like Ottawa is a great place for my family as I did see a lot more outdoor activities than Ive seen in the Peg (Winnipeg). My first impressions are pretty well, this city is great and I’m looking forward to the next few seasons that I’m here for.”
Zlomislic: What excites you the most about your new job here in Ottawa?
LaPolice: “I think I’m most excited about the process of building our team’s identity. How to be a team, what our team defines and how we play as a team. I feel like last season, the Redblacks lost an identity after losing some key components, although with me here, I hope to change that and create a well advertised team in Ottawa.”
Zlomislic: Surrounding the time with the Winnipeg Blue-Bombers is the time you had spent a part of the TSN’s CFL panel. On the panel, you were among many great football minds. If you could choose one of your former colleagues at TSN to help coach here in Ottawa, who would you bring?
LaPolice: Can I say Rod Smith? Oh never-mind, he would just be the funnest guy there. I would have to say my man Milt Stegall. I remember Milt telling me his coaching philosophy; he said he’d only coach if there were 12 Milt Stegalls on the field for him. So if I had him help me here in Ottawa, I don’t think I’d have to worry about my receiving core. Although behind that, Id also have a great group of guys. When Milt played, he was one of the hardest workers, he always knew what was going on and he was one of the greatest guys off the field too. Milt would make up of a great coach here in Ottawa if I got to choose him.”
Zlomislic: When you were signed on Saturday, all of Rnation hopped onto social media to welcome you in to Ottawa. What can the fans here expect from you here in Ottawa?
LaPolice: “I hope to be consistent, I will make sure that our team plays fast, physical and have fun. These guys on the field are just playing a game they love and having fun is what they do, so if they’re having fun, it means success as a coach.”
Zlomislic: Yesterday, you were spotted in the airport wearing a Hakuna Matata Lion King shirt, is Lion King your favorite Disney movie?
LaPolice: “YES! If you put the Avengers to the side, Lion King has been a favorite movie of mine and my family for a while. Earlier, we actually had a house in Florida which was found just outside the Disney parks and what we did was live there for a month every winter and in the kids rooms were Lion King designs, so you can say its a family favorite.”