It’s officially official: Craig Dickenson is the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ new special-teams coordinator.
The Bombers made the announcement Friday, just one day after Dickenson resigned from the same job with the archrival Saskatchewan Roughriders citing an inability to make a full-time commitment in the offseason. Dickenson said he is building a house in Montana, where he lives in the off-season, and also teaches skiing and snowboarding at nearby Big Mountain Resort.
"I had a really good relationship in Saskatchewan, but without going into that too much it basically came down to a conflict of schedule in the off-season," said Dickenson in a telephone interview with the Free Press. "I had made some commitments that I intended to honour and the schedule changed where I was required to be back earlier than previously been discussed and it didn’t jive with the commitments I had already made.
"We talked, but there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room and I decided to stick to my guns with my commitments to my family and off-season activities. That’s how it shook down.
"Working at Big Mountain is very good me," Dickenson added. "It allows me to step out of my comfort zone and to be something different. I’m learning new skills in terms of teaching skiing and snowboarding and it just allows me to dive into a whole different world for a few months."
Dickenson said he will be busy chatting with Bomber head coach Tim Burke immediately and will crank up his commitment to his new gig here beginning in March.
"I am very excited to have Craig on board with us next season," said Burke in press release. "Craig is regarded as one of the best special teams coaches in this league and will play a vital role in our success in the coming years. He will provide great leadership and will be able to mentor our young special teams players, kickers and punters."
Dickenson has spent the last two years with the Rougriders, and prior to that spent 2010 as an assistant special teams coach with the Oakland Raiders. He has also worked for the Montreal Alouettes, the University of Montana, Utah State, the San Diego Chargers and Calgary Stampeders.
It was with the Stamps that Dickenson developed a relationship with Burke and Bomber defensive coordinator Casey Creehan.
"I really enjoy coaching with Tim Burke," said Dickenson. "I think he’s fantastic and has great leadership skills. I’m excited about the new stadium and like the fact that living in Winnipeg is similar to Montana in that you can ride your bike around, there’s lakes nearby and the fans there have great pride and ownership of their team. That made it an attractive job.
Dickenson’s coaching career began in 1995 at Montana, his alma mater, when the Grizzlies captured the NCAA Division 1-AA National Championship.