Next Alouettes Head Coach: Early Predictions

next alouettes head coach

With the Montreal Alouettes playoff hopes dying away, it’s not to early to predict the next Alouettes head coach. Montreal’s season is spiralling out of control and when a team is 3-8, the head coach shouldn’t stay on much longer.

After a 38-27 loss to the B.C. Lions last week – their third consecutive loss and fifth in past six games – Popp was asked about the future of him on the sidelines. He did not answer, a rarity for the general manager and head coach.

French-language newspaper La Presse reported prior to the game against the Lions, that Popp does not plan on returning as head coach next season. This does not yet rule out of the possibility of him stepping down or being fired this season.

At this point, it would not make sense to create more instability and have a new head coach. Regardless, there are some early candidates for the next Alouettes head coach, either for this season, or for the 2017 season.

Next Alouettes Head Coach: Early Predictions

Noel Thorpe, Defensive Coordinator

Noel Thorpe is the clear favourite for the head coaching position. He has more coaching experience than anybody else on the staff, and is the most deserving. Thorpe is in his fourth season as defensive coordinator, and third as assistant head coach. This is his tenth season with the Alouettes after spending 2002-2007 as special teams coordinator. Thorpe has been coaching college and pro football for over 20 years.

Many expected Thorpe to be promoted after last season. When Popp decided to stick on the sidelines for 2016, Thorpe was not happy. He threatened to leave the organization for the Edmonton Eskimos, but the league ruled him to stay in Montreal. This creates a lack of cohesion between the two men on the sidelines this season.

If Popp wants some stability to his team without him acting only as the general manager, Thorpe is the man for the job. The only reason for Thorpe not becoming the next Alouettes head coach is the fact that maybe him and Popp are not the best of friends.

Anthony Calvillo, Offensive Coordinator

The legendary Anthony Calvillo is a project for the next Alouettes head coach. Football’s all-time leading passer quickly climbed up the ranks of the coaching staff in just two seasons.

Calvillo is the most well-known name in the Montreal football world. He is the Maurice Richard of the Montreal Alouettes organization. Based on his playing career alone, Calvillo is destined to become a head coach. Many former quarterbacks are head coaches now, like Dave Dickenson, Jason Maas, Kent Austin and Scott Milanovich.

The difference between Calvillo and those head coaches is that they had time to grow as assistant coaches and coordinators. They also all coached with different teams, learning from different head coaches. Calvillo’s coaching career is short: one team, two seasons, and only three years since he last played a down.

Calvillo has to gain more experience on the sidelines, and interact with players in a different role than when he played, before he becomes head coach. If Popp names Calvillo as the next Alouettes head coach, he is sending a message that his team is rebuilding, from the players to the coach staff.

Calvillo will become a head coach one day, but if the Alouettes want to remain competitive, that day is not in the near future.

Marcus Brady, Toronto Argonauts Offensive Coordinator

Marcus Brady is a wild card candidate for the next Alouettes head coach. Brady is not a stranger to the team and to Popp. He backed up Calvillo from 2006 until his retirement in 2008. He then became the wide receivers coach for three more seasons before assuming offensive coordinators duties in 2012. Brady has been with the Argonauts since 2013.

He has enough coaching experience to handle a team on his own. This is his eighth season on a coaching staff, and merits a promotion soon.

Popp hasn’t promoted an Alouettes coordinator or assistant coach directly to head coach since Charlie Taaffe became head coach in 1999, after acting as defensive coordinator for two seasons prior. This may work in Brady’s favour, and especially with the turmoil within the team, it may be smart to bring in a fresh face.

There is a small chance Brady becomes the next Alouettes head coach. He still is a good candidate.

Danny Maciocia, Montreal Carabins Head Coach

Danny Maciocia not only is a good candidate, he is the ideal candidate. But that’s all he is – the ideally perfect next Alouettes head coach. Maciocia cut his teeth into the coaching business when he started as quality control coach for the team in 1996. He stayed with the organization until he left for Edmonton in 2002.

Maciocia stayed with the Eskimos until 2010, and in 2011 he became the head coach of the Université de Montréal Carabins. He turned the program around, winning a Vanier Cup in 2014, and a Dunsmore Cup last year.

He clearly is enjoying his team coaching CIS Football, and doesn’t seem like much will pull him away. Popp and owner Bob Wetenhall need to offer him a serious amount of money if they want to get him.

Maciocia is a Montreal native, speaks English and French, and respected by all in Montreal’s football community. Maciocia should be at the top of Popp’s list for the next Alouettes head coach, but it is unlikely he joins.

Main Photo.