Tim Burke has had the interim tag removed from his name and will be the head coach of the Blue Bombers next year. Burke took over the job in August following the firing of Paul LaPolice. Winnipeg, who made the Grey Cup last season, was officially eliminated from playoff contention last week.
Burke was a finalist for the Hamilton head coaching job last winter and word is that if George Cortez had not agreed to come to Hamilton, Burke would have been the man to lead the Tiger-Cats this season. Instead, Cortez was hired and Burke remained in Winnipeg as the defensive coordinator until taking over as head coach at mid-season.
There was a slight hope in me that Burke would not be retained by the Bombers and would find his way to Hamilton as the team's defensive coordinator. But the Bombers have played better with Burke and it comes as no surprise that he will be given a chance to shape the team in the way he wants.
So where does that leave Hamilton? A lot of Hamilton's defensive deficiencies have been blamed on first-year coordinator Casey Creehan, but the defense has recently played very well – not coincidentally, players like Bo Smith and Markeith Knowlton have started to get healthy – and that bodes well for Creehan. In a statement I probably wouldn't have made back in the summer, I think Creehan will be back as Hamilton's defensive coordinator next season.