Sunday, August 31, 2014

Alouettes unveil newest coach

MONTREAL—For a second year in a row, the Montreal Alouettes will start the CFL season with a new head coach.
Alouettes’ owner Bob Wetenhall announced yesterday that Tom Higgins will be the club’s new head coach.

The former Edmonton Eskimos’ and Calgary Stampeders’ bench boss replaces general manager Jim Popp, who took over Aug. 1 when the inexperienced Dan Hawkins was fired only five games into the 2013 season.
Wetenhall made it clear in a statement that he did not want Popp, who is considered one of the CFL’s best GMs but has a career 16-20 record as a coach, to continue in both jobs.
“As I’ve expressed to the media in recent weeks, I wanted to continue with the formula which has brought us the success we’ve enjoyed these past 17 years—having a full-time head coach and a full-time general manager to fill each of these positions,” noted Wetenhall.
“The criteria we established was to find an individual familiar with the CFL; someone with success in that position and a background as a position coach,” he remarked.
“In addition, we sought an individual with a record for moulding and delivering championship teams.”
Popp had made no secret of wanting to continue coaching, but Wetenhall put out a statement recently saying candidates would be interviewed.
A year ago, the Alouettes waited until Feb. 19 to name Hawkins, a former U.S. university coach with no experience of the Canadian game.
He was 2-3 when he was fired with the team in disarray.
Popp, the Alouettes’ GM since they returned to Montreal in 1996, took over as coach for the third time in his career and went 6-7.
It marked only the second time since 1996 the team had a losing record, matching the 8-10 mark Popp put up in his only full season as head coach in 2007.
It hurt that starting quarterback Anthony Calvillo was lost for the season in August to a concussion.

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