WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have looked inside for their new assistant general manager.
Kyle Walters has been picked for a job that current general manager Joe Mack agrees could be a stepping stone to the top spot he now holds. The 39-year-old has been the Bombers' special teams co-ordinator for the past three seasons.
"I think any good organization is going to want to always be conscious of a succession plan," Mack said Wednesday by phone from his home in the United States.
"I think our intention is certainly for Kyle to grow in the position and be a candidate when that does occur."
His official title will be assistant general manager and director of Canadian scouting.
Although Walters has a house in Winnipeg, he spoke by phone from Hamilton to say he was excited about the new job but also a little sad to be giving up a nine-year coaching career.
The former defensive back with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats previously worked as a defensive co-ordinator and also as head coach at the University of Guelph.
"That's the thing I'm certainly going to miss the most, is the on-field coaching and being around the players," he said.
Mack said Walters was picked from a list of more than 16 candidates.
"It was very gratifying to see the number of people that were willing to be part of our team and our organization," Mack said.
He added that Walters' solid Canadian connections were major draws.
"I think it was a huge positive that Kyle had played in the league and been captain of a team and the fact that he'd been head coach of a CIS program just added to his overall value," Mack said.
Although the Canadian draft is a big part of his role, he will also be involved in all aspects of club operations, including talks with free agents, said Mack.
"I think right now we've pretty much decided we want to have everybody back if we can arrange it," Mack said of the list of 11 Bomber free agents released by the CFL Wednesday.
Although they've had discussions with all of their free agents, those talks will resume in the next week or so now that the players have had a chance to see if there is other interest in their talents.
The 6-12 Blue Bombers did not make the playoffs this past season.
There was a "Fire Joe Mack" petition circulating on Facebook and head coach Paul LaPolice did lose his job mid-season over the team's stumbles as they tried to get back to the Grey Cup.
After the season ended, the Bombers dumped assistant general manager Ross Hodgkinson, who had held the position since 2008. He first joined the team in 1985 and served in a number of posts.
It was widely speculated at the time that the team was looking for someone who might be able to replace Mack and Hodgkinson didn't fit that bill.