Kavis Reed to return as GM, search for new Alouettes coach has begun

Kavis Reed will be back next season as general manager of the Montreal Alouettes, but he has no plans to stay on as head coach.

Reed said Wednesday the search for the next coach began soon after he took over from the fired Jacques Chapdelaine on Sept. 13.

“We’ve had discussions with a number of people,” said Reed. “There will be a new head coach.

“A general manager’s job is to make sure he’s out ahead, handling the future while looking at the present. A head coaches’ job is taking care of football and taking care of the players on the field and making sure we have a successful team.

“We’re going to have a very strong head coach. That person will have the ability to help turn this franchise around.”

The Alouettes, who have missed the CFL playoffs for a third straight season, were 3-8 and had lost four games in a row when Chapdelaine got the axe. They have lost another four straight under Reed.

Reed said when he took over that he had no plans to keep the coaching job. At the time, it wasn’t even certain that he would stay on as GM, but he was told recently by upper management that he will be kept on to try to rebuild the team.

It will be the seventh coaching change since the five-year reign of Marc Trestman, who won two Grey Cups, ended in 2012. Dan Hawkins, former GM Jim Popp twice, Tom Higgins, Chapdelaine and Reed have all had a go at the job since then, none with much success.

No names have surfaced on who the next coach will be. Reed, a rookie GM, wasn’t giving any hints on what type of coach he wants or whether CFL experience is necessary. He just wants a coach that has “a track record of being able to develop and lead players.

“We have been talking to people that we’re able to talk to,” he added. “In order to make certain we do this right, there is a vetting process.

“We’ve mapped out what that process is going to be to make sure that the way we select a head coach is going to be one that’s both scientifically done and with an art form to it.”

Last season, Reed was the Alouettes’ special teams co-ordinator. He was promoted to GM when Popp left after the season.

The Alouettes play their final home game Sunday against Hamilton and end their dreary campaign with road games in Saskatchewan and Hamilton.

Veteran quarterback Darian Durant, who has struggled since his off-season acquisition from Saskatchewan, is expected to start after missing two games with a lower body injury.

The 35-year-old will be looking to prove he should be kept on next season.

“Of course I want to play, there’s no doubt in my mind,” said Durant, who feels some of his troubles stemmed from adapting to a new team after spending his first 11 CFL seasons in Regina. “I feel I still have a lot more in the tank and I’m going to go out there and prove it.”

Reed said the last few games will be an “audition” for all his players, including Durant.

“The last four or five weeks he’s been battling injury,” said Reed. “We need to get the information we need to make an informed decision.

“We feel very strongly about Darian. This is an opportunity for us to either validate that belief or validate the fact that we need to do something else. But it is only fair to Darian to look at him when he is more healthy.”

Linebacker Dominique Tovell and receiver Tiquan Underwood were released.

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