The Montreal Alouettes announced today that Jim Popp stepped as head coach, retaining his general manager duties. Jacques Chapdelaine becomes the interim Alouettes head coach.
Popp Steps Down; Chapdelaine Interim Alouettes Head Coach
Rocky Ride Under Popp
Popp steps down after coaching the team to a 6-16 record since firing Tom Higgins last August. With a record of 3-9 this season, and emotions boiling over between players, this announcement was expected.
Popp named himself head coach in the off-season, cancelling the need to find a head coach. It was the safest option, and created the most stability, but did not lead to results on the field. After a Week 1 win, the team has been falling, losing four straight and picking up a single win since the end of July.
Last season, Popp did not right the ship after taking over, missing the playoffs. This was the first time the Alouettes did not qualify for the post-season since they returned to Montreal in 1996.
The Alouettes have a bye week before hosting the Toronto Argonauts October 2nd. This gives them plenty of time to transition between coaches.
Popp ends his fourth tenure as head coach, with an overall coaching record of 22-36. Popp started with the organization when they were the Baltimore Stallions in 1994.
Chapdelaine Brings Experience
Chapdelaine will be well-liked in the Montreal media. A Sherbrooke, Quebec native, the 55-year-old will be able to communicate in both languages with the press, a commodity the Alouettes never had.
As interim Alouettes head coach, Chapdelaine makes his debut as a CFL head coach. He has been an offensive coordinator with the Calgary Stampeders, Edmonton Eskimos, B.C. Lions and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He won two Grey Cup championships with the Lions, and one with the Stamps.
However, he does not lack head coaching experience. He coached the Laval Rouge et Or to a Vanier Cup in 1999, and coached Simon Fraser Univesity two years ago. He also adds seven years of playing experience as a slotback.
The Alouettes once again named the safest option to become the interim Alouettes head coach. He brings the most experience and stability to the team.
Noel Thorpe, who would have also made a good interim Alouettes head coach, remains defensive coordinator. Anthony Calvillo will likely have full control of the offence without Chapdelaine as his advisor. Kavis Reed stays as special teams coordinator.