They have a new running back, a new receiver, some new defensive backs, and now the Montreal Alouettes have settled on a new face to prowl the sideline.
According to a league source – and to multiple local media reports – the Als have picked former U.S. NCAA coach Dan Hawkins to fill the capacious shoes of Marc Trestman, who racked up two CFL championships and a 64-34 record in five years as head coach.
General manager Jim Popp refuted initial reports in the Montreal Gazette last week that Hawkins was his man, but it appears the two sides have reached an agreement – the new coach is to be unveiled at a news conference Tuesday.
In the 52-year-old Hawkins, who has spent the last two years as a U.S. college football analyst for ESPN, the Als are getting a coach with a long track record in the collegiate ranks who has built his reputation as a communicator.
Barring a surprise – the Als have also interviewed former Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn and Atlanta Falcons receivers coach Terry Robiskie, among others – team owner Robert Wetenhall and Popp will also be unveiling a head man who has had mixed results at the collegiate level.
Though he went 53-11 at Boise State University between 2001-05 and made four bowl appearances in five years, winning two, Hawkins’s next stint, as coach of the University of Colorado Buffaloes, was somewhat less successful.
After famously promising “10 wins and no excuses” in 2009, Hawkins guided the Buffaloes to a 3-9 mark. He was fired before the end of the next season, a few days after his squad – led by son Cody, the starting quarterback – blew the biggest fourth-quarter lead in school history, frittering away a 28-point cushion against Kansas.
He left Colorado with a 19-39 mark.
Like Trestman, Hawkins has no prior CFL experience, but that doesn’t mean he’s completely unfamiliar with the three-down game. Hawkins was among the gaggle coaches and former coaches Trestman and Popp worked with in the spring of 2012 to prepare for that CFL season.
The Als went 11-7 in 2012, coming within a dropped pass of beating the eventual Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts on the final play of the East Division final.
Bolstered by off-season additions like Canadian running back Jerome Messam, defensive backs Geoff Tisdale and Byron Parker, and receiver Arland Bruce, Hawkins will be inheriting a team that, with returning quarterback Anthony Calvillo, is looking to return to its former championship heights.