Football

O'Billovich named Ticats general manager

Hamilton Tiger-Cats president Scott Mitchell sought a football man with deep experience as the team's next general manager and came up with the well-travelled Bob O'Billovich on Wednesday.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats president Scott Mitchell sought a football man with deep experience and widespread connections as the team's next general manager and came up with the well-travelled Bob O'Billovich.

The 67-year-oldO'Billovich, who wasintroducedto the media Wednesday,replaces Marcel Desjardins, who was fired Nov. 4 after 14 months on the job.

"What I remember of Hamilton is hard-nosed, tough football and that's what we're going to strive to be,"said O'Billovich, who lives in nearby Oakville, Ont. "That's always been the identity of Hamilton, tough defence, and that's what I want."

Desjardins was hired Aug. 29, 2006, but Hamilton posted records of 4-14 and 3-15 during his tenure.

O'Billovich,who has more than 25 years ofexperience in the CFL as a player, coach and GM,was the director of player personnel for theB.C. Lions the past five seasons.

O'Billovich turned pro in 1963 as a defensive back with the Ottawa Rough Riders, capturing the Grey Cup as an assistant coach in 1976.

O'Billovich was hired as coach of the Toronto Argonauts in 1982, compiling a 78-55-3 record and winning CFL coach of the year honours in 1983 and 1987.

He won the East Division five times with the Argonauts, andled the team to threeGrey Cup appearances, winning in 1983.

O'Billovich joined the Lions in 1990 as vice-president of football operations, GM and coach before returning to Toronto as GM and coach in 1993. Two years later, he relinquished coaching duties to focus on player recruitment.

O'Billovich has been responsible for luring players such as Michael (Pinball) Clemons, Dave Dickenson, Darren Flutie and Willie Pless to the CFL.

In Hamilton, O'Billovich will have to decide if he wants to retain coach Charlie Taaffe, 57, or bring in his own man.

Taaffe was expected to make the trip from his home in Baltimore, Md.,to attend Wednesday's news conference.

Mitchell has said he would prefer Taaffe stay on for next season.

With files from the Canadian Press