Speros signs Matthews as coach

February 07, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

Jim Speros moved another piece into place for his prospective Canadian Football League team in Baltimore yesterday, when he signed veteran coach Don Matthews to a three-year contract with options for three more years.

Matthews will be formally introduced today in a news conference.

"I don't think I could find a better coach," said Speros, a Virginia businessman who is trying to bring a CFL expansion team to Memorial Stadium for the 1994 season.

"I had a lot of guys who wanted the job. Matthews was a step above everybody I interviewed."

The contract is contingent on Baltimore's being awarded the team. Speros has said he expects to get a lease to play at Memorial Stadium on Feb. 15, the day after the deadline for the city's bid to bring an NFL team here.

Once Speros has a lease, he will be officially awarded the expansion franchise.

Matthews, 54, has a nine-year record of 91-53-1 in the CFL. He coached the British Columbia Lions from 1983 to 1987, twice taking them to the Grey Cup. He coached the Toronto Argonauts in 1990 and the Saskatchewan Roughriders the past three years.

He resigned from Saskatchewan at the end of December, giving up a contract that paid him $160,000 in Canadian money.

"It was chancy on my part," said Matthews, who will hold the title of head coach and director of football operations. "But I could see what was going to happen in Baltimore. It was worth the risk."

Matthews had an escape clause in his Saskatchewan contract that allowed him to leave. The Massachusetts native will not have that clause in his Baltimore contract.

"He'll be one of the highest-paid coaches in the league," Speros said. "Financially, his package is as good as anybody in the league."

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