Tillman hired as Eskimos' GM: source
Eric Tillman is returning to the CFL.
A league source requesting anonymity said Monday night that Tillman has officially been hired as the new general manager of the Edmonton Eskimos. The source added the CFL club will make the formal announcement Tuesday at a news conference in Edmonton.
The appointment isn't surprising. Earlier Monday another CFL source said Tillman and the Eskimos were indeed talking and the question wasn't if he will land in Edmonton but rather when.
Tillman will succeed Danny Maciocia, who was fired July 31.
Tillman has been out of the CFL since stepping down as GM of the Saskatchewan Roughriders in January after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a 16-year-old babysitter.
The incident occurred in August 2008.
He received an absolute discharge, meaning he doesn't have a criminal record.
The 2010 season has already been one to forget for Edmonton. The city will host this year's Grey Cup but its team is last in the West Division standings with a league-worst 2-8 record.
And the Eskimos' plight doesn't get any easier. The club is in Montreal this week to face the defending Grey Cup-champion Alouettes, who lead the East Division with a 7-3 record.
The Eskimos could also have the added misfortune of having to deal with Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo. The CFL's outstanding player the last two years has missed his club's last two games due to a bruised sternum.
Tillman's first order of business will be to evaluate head coach Richie Hall. The former Saskatchewan defensive co-ordinator posted a 9-9 record in his first season as a CFL head coach in 2009. He added the defensive co-ordinator's job this season and has seen his team struggle mightily in his sophomore campaign.
Tillman, 52, has also worked as a football analyst with TSN and Rogers Sportsnet. He broke into the CFL in 1982 working in the personnel department of the Montreal Concordes before becoming the executive director of the Senior Bowl in 1984.
He remained there for eight years before taking his first CFL general manager's job with the B.C. Lions in 1993. He left B.C. to become the executive director of NFL Europe in 1995 before returning to Canada in 1997, this time as GM of the Toronto Argonauts.
Tillman was then named GM of the expansion Ottawa Renegades in 2002, a job he held until 2004 before being named GM of the Riders in 2007.
The Eskimos are also said to have considered Montreal assistant GM Marcel Desjardins, Saskatchewan director of U.S. scouting Joe Womack, Edmonton head scout Ed Hervey and the team's Canadian scout Dan McKinnon for the position. However, the source said Tillman's credentials put him at the top of the team's list.
Tillman won Grey Cups as a GM with B.C. (1994), Toronto (1997) and Saskatchewan (2007).
He did a masterful job of transforming the Riders into a CFL championship team. Upon becoming GM, he was forced to shave hundreds of thousands of dollars from payroll to get the club under the salary cap. He also raised some eyebrows by hiring former Saskatchewan quarterback Kent Austin as head coach.
Austin guided the Riders to the '07 Grey Cup, only the club's third in its history.
Tillman also made key signings in defensive end Stevie Baggs and receivers Weston Dressler and Rob Bagg while bringing back veteran defensive back Omarr Morgan to the club.