In a stunning turn of events, have fired head coach Jacques Chapdelaine and their defensive co-ordinator, Noel Thorpe.
Chapdelaine confirmed his dismissal in a text message to the Montreal Gazette Wednesday morning.
“I’m at home right now. I’ve been told they were going in a different direction,” Chapdelaine said. “You probably will get more info from the general manager.
“I’m very much at peace with this situation.”
The Als issued a statement shortly after 9 a.m., confirming both had been fired. General manager Kavis Reed will serve as the interim head coach until the end of the season. Senior defensive assistant Greg Quick replaces Thorpe as the defensive co-ordinator, while former legendary quarterback Anthony Calvillo becomes the offensive co-ordinator.
Calvillo, who’s scheduled to be inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame on Thursday, called the Als’ offensive plays last season until being replaced by Chapdelaine.
According to a source, Rich Stubler, a veteran defensive coach with extensive CFL experience, will serve as a consultant. Another source indicated veteran rush-end John Bowman had been released.
The Als, who have missed the playoffs the last two seasons, have a 3-8 record and are on a four-game losing streak. Were the Canadian Football League playoffs to begin today, they would fail to qualify again.
The team has struggled on offence much of the season, held without an offensive touchdown in two of its games.
Tuesday morning, at the team’s annual golf tournament, part-owner Andrew Wetenhall told the media but never hinted any firings were imminent.
The Als return to practice Wednesday morning and are preparing for a game this Sunday, at Molson Stadium, against the Ottawa Redblacks.
Had replaced Jim Popp
Chapdelaine, who has extensive experience in the Canadian Football League as an offensive co-ordinator, was in his first full season as Montreal’s head coach. He last September, with the team at 3-9. The Als went 4-2 under Chapdelaine, but he failed to turn the program around this season.
Popp, who remained as general manager at the time, was fired from that role in November, after the team’s season. One month later, the organization announced the hiring of Kavis Reed as GM. Reed, who was the Als’ special teams co-ordinator, has no experience as a GM.
Thorpe, meanwhile, was in his fifth season as the Als’ defensive co-ordinator and his fourth as the assistant head coach. He was in his 11th year with the organization, having served an earlier stint with Montreal.
The Als’ defence has been the team’s benchmark for most of recent history, but has struggled recently, allowing more than 30 points in each of the last four games. That included a 41-18 loss at Vancouver last Friday.
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