Q&A: Danny Maciocia on turning down Alouettes

University of Montreal head coach Danny Maciocia announced Monday that he was turning down an offer from the Montreal Alouettes to become the team’s president. In this interview with 3DownNation’s Justin Dunk, Maciocia describes the hiring process and what went into his decision to ultimately stay at the University of Montreal with the Carabins.

Justin Dunk: When was the first time the Montreal Alouettes contacted you?

Danny Maciocia: “I heard from them on the Monday after Grey Cup saying that they were going to get in contact with me and then the following Wednesday that’s when the interview took place (November 30).”

Dunk: How was the interview with the Als?

Maciocia: “It was good. It lasted about two hours and 20 minutes. We talked about a few things. Obviously, they had questions to ask, which I did the best I could to answer them. I submitted a plan, so they took a look at it. That was the extent of it. I thought it was pleasant.”

Dunk: Did Montreal make it clear that you had to keep Jacques Chapdelaine as head coach?

Maciocia: “No. We never got that far.”

Dunk: After the interview, when did you hear from the Alouettes next?

Maciocia: “Monday or Tuesday the following week Andrew [Wetenhall] called me up. That was to tell me about what they were planning on doing. They established the role that they envisioned me in and the talks progressed from that point on. We talked about the position itself and the offers that came with it, but the position was not the one that I interviewed for nor was it one that I felt good about. It was a president and also had another function, which was tied into football operations and all football operations people would report back to me.”

Dunk: Following that discussion, what was that week like as you took the steps to make a final decision?

Maciocia: “Andrew and I kept speaking to one another throughout the course of the week and I also had an opportunity to sit down with the people that are close to me and I tossed it around. I’m still the president and it’s still a pretty good job description, it’s not something that they just throw out to anybody, so I was flattered by them even considering me in that capacity. But at the end of the day that’s not who I am, and that’s not where I am right now in my life at 49 and I think I still have a few good years left in me having my boots on the ground, whether it’s working with players, coaches, football operations and personnel department. That’s basically who I am and I want to keep doing that as long as I can. Something that came along last week is something that maybe I should contemplate later on in my career, but not right now.”

Dunk: Did Andrew tell you which people they were going to appoint as head coach and general manager?

Maciocia: “There were no names thrown around. The only thing that was mentioned to me is that they had some names in mind and they were going to place them and then obviously we collectively had to work together.

Dunk: Would you have had a say in who would be the head coach and general manager?

Maciocia: “No. I was never led to believe that I would have a say.”

Dunk: What led to the decision to stay at the University of Montreal?

Maciocia: “I don’t know if I’m at a stage in my career where I want to give up being around the field. I just don’t want to be caught up in an office with a shirt, tie and a blazer. That’s not where I’m at – I want to stay close to the action, whether it’s on the sideline or around it. That’s who I am, that’s what I’ve done since the age of 28, so I’ve been doing this for 21 years and it would’ve been hard to close the door on that chapter right now because I still think I have a few more good years to go.”

Dunk: How important was University of Montreal athletic director Manon Simard in allowing you to go through the process of a potential job with the Alouettes?

Maciocia: “I’ve always been transparent with them from the outset, they knew exactly what was going on from day one. That’s just good business if you keep the people that employ you always aware of what’s going on, especially if you have a particular relationship with them. I’m extremely grateful. Don’t forget that in 2002 I had an opportunity to coach here that lasted three months and then I left for the Edmonton Eskimos, which she encouraged me to do because she realized  that it would’ve been something that I thought would help my career. Then nine years later I came back and she hired me again. She’s always been one that has encouraged me to keep all my options open and that’s refreshing.”

Dunk: Would you consider a position with the Alouettes in the future?

Maciocia: “I’m always open to listening, I’m never going to close any doors. The timing and fit has to be right for both parties, I don’t think it can only be right for one, and clearly this time around it wasn’t, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t be. So moving forward if the opportunity presents itself, I’d be willing to listen, absolutely. I was comfortable with the whole process. It’s important that we in Montreal have a football team that is a winner not only on the field, but off the field. And I think if we have that we all benefit from it.”

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