Kepley resigns as Esks linebackers coach; Bleamer fired as offensive line coach

Edmonton Eskimos head coach Richie Hall shuffled his staff Wednesday.

Edmonton Eskimos' quarterback Jared Zabransky

Edmonton Eskimos' quarterback Jared Zabransky

EDMONTON — Edmonton Eskimos head coach Richie Hall shuffled his staff Wednesday.

Hall hired Mark Nelson as linebackers coach while former Eskimos offensive lineman Tim Prinsen was named offensive line coach.

Nelson takes over from longtime Eskimos star Dan Kepley, who resigned after nine seasons as a coach, while Prinsen replaces Jeff Bleamer, who was fired.

The moves come at a difficult time for the Eskimos, who lost a lopsided 56-15 decision to Calgary on Sunday and are tied with B.C. with a league-worst 1-6 record.

General manager Danny Maciocia was let go following Edmonton’s only win of the season, a 28-25 decision over B.C. on July 30.

Hall said the resignation of Kepley, who led the Eskimos to five straight Grey Cup titles as a player and was part of two more championship squads as a coach, was unexpected. In all, Kepley spent 20 seasons with Edmonton and was inducted to the organization’s Wall of Honour in 1987 before being enshrined in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

“Coach Kepley’s resignation caught me by surprise,” Hall said in a release. “Danny has been a great Eskimo as a player and as a coach.

“He is an ultimate warrior and we wish him well in the future.”

Bleamer joined the Eskimos in 2009 after spending the previous two years with the Hamilton Tiger Cats.

Nelson begins his second stint with the Eskimos. He began his pro coaching career with the club in ’92 as its special-teams co-ordinator and spent three seasons in Edmonton, winning a Grey Cup with the team in 1993. Nelson also won a Grey Cup as the defensive line coach with the Toronto Argonauts in 1996.

Prinsen, an Edmonton native, played five seasons as the club’s starting centre, winning a Grey Cup in 2003. He spent four years with the University of Alberta as the offensive line coach (2006-’09) and served as a guest coach with the Eskimos at this year’s training camp.

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