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New Eskimos GM wired to win

Ex-receiver Hervey vows to stabilize organization

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EDMONTON -- Ed Hervey vows he won't stop until he returns the Edmonton Eskimos to a winning organization.

The former Eskimos wide receiver was confirmed Monday as the team's general manager, a move that wasn't a major surprise.

The two-time Grey Cup champion with the Eskimos had been their head scout for four years and was considered one of the two front-runners for the GM position, along with head coach Kavis Reed.

"I'm excited for the challenge but humbled by the opportunity," the 39-year-old Hervey said. "This is not about me. This is about the Edmonton Eskimos, this is about our team... our direction. Our direction is simple. We want to win. We will win because that's what we are.

"I believe in team environment. I believe in a unified philosophy. I believe in a commitment to being the best. Winning is what I want and I won't stop until I do. That's just how I'm wired."

Hervey replaces Eric Tillman, who was fired after two years on Nov. 3, a week before the Eskimos lost to the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL East semifinal.

In making Monday's announcement, team president Len Rhodes said it was a "great day" for the Eskimos organization. He said Hervey fits all the criteria the search committee was looking for: someone with a long-term commitment to the club, someone capable of finding and securing talent, someone willing to involve himself in the community and someone with a passion for the team's past and its future.

"He knows what winning is all about," Rhodes said. "If you know Ed for more than five minutes you know that winning is everything and conversely he hates losing. Ed's the right man to build this club into the world-class performance club that we expect. He'll give our community a consistently competitive team for years to come."

Rhodes said the team began with a list of 17 candidates, reduced that to a shortlist of four people last week and conducted final interviews over the weekend before deciding on Hervey.

"We didn't give him this job, he earned it."

One of Hervey's first actions as GM was to endorse current Eskimos coach Kavis Reed.

"He is the guy. I will clean up a few things in the operation side and give him the full opportunity to be the best coach in the league," Hervey said.

Reed was pleased with Hervey's appointment and said the two, who have already spoken about their future roles, will work well together.

"Our relationship is tremendous," the coach said. "We both have the same simple philosophy."

Hervey said that for six years he had a front-row seat to watch two different general managers -- Danny Maciocia and Tillman -- and to learn from both their mistakes and what they did well. He admitted things had been "unpredictable" in that position the last few seasons and he wants to stabilize that.

"I don't have any great master plan," he said on a couple of occasions. "It's a simple philosophy. Do things right. Communicate. Scout the best players. Coach Reed will see them and coach them. And the guys will hit the field and perform. It's not that complicated."

Hervey takes over a club that struggled offensively in 2012 and stumbled into the playoffs on a three-game losing streak. Edmonton finished last in the West Division, but finished with a better record than Hamilton and Winnipeg and crossed over into the East semifinal.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 11, 2012 C7

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