Five notable CFL coaching stints from 1991 to 2013

Andrew Bucholtz
August 1, 2013

This is Part II of a series looking at some of the most notable short stints for CFL head coaches in the wake of Dan Hawkins' firing, focusing on the period 1991-2013. As mentioned in Part I, we're not considering interim coaches, and this is a list of memorable ones rather than just the absolute shortest stints (although this isn't far from that). Here are five notable short stints since 1991, with the coach's name, record, and some thoughts on what happened to them.

Mike Faragalli, Toronto, 2-7, 1995: Unlike, say, Hawkins, Faragalli came in with extensive CFL experience. After a solid NCAA playing career at Rhode Island, he coached there and with Wisconsin and William and Mary before heading to the CFL as Hamilton's offensive coordinator in 1985. The Tiger-Cats lost the Grey Cup that year, but won it the next year. Faragalli then had stints as a solid OC under his dad (legendary CFL coach Joe) in Montreal and Edmonton before heading back to the NCAA as Bowling Green's offensive coordinator. He then took over as the Argos' head coach in 1995, but the team started just 2-7; despite that, though, there have been suggestions that he was only fired to save money by having Bob O'Billovich handle the GM's job and the coaching job, as the team was in dire financial straits at that time. Faragalli then returned to the NCAA and had productive stints as an OC with Bowling Green, Lafayette and Richmond.

Jim Gilstrap, Ottawa, 3-19, 1995-1996: Gilstrap lasted much longer as a head coach than most people on this list, enduring the whole 1995 season (where his Ottawa Rough Riders went 3-15) before getting fired after they started 0-4 in 1996. That's a staggeringly bad .136 winning percentage, though. In fairness to him, it wasn't all his fault: those Rough Riders had tons of problems on and off the field, and they'd go just 3-11 under replacement John Payne before folding that offseason. Still, that's a pretty bad coaching tenure. (Gilstrap also infamously drafted a dead player.) He impressed in other situations, though, including as a long-time assistant to CFL and NCAA head coach Mike Reilly.

John Huard, Toronto, 1-6-1, 2000: As mentioned in Part I, Huard actually had two stints where he was hired as a CFL head coach but never coached a game (thanks to the Atlantic Schooners folding before playing a game in 1984 and Lonie Glieberman firing him in Shreveport in 1995). However, he gets on this list for a third one, his time as the head coach of the Toronto Argonauts in 2000. Oddly enough, he was hired by the same man all three times, legendary CFL executive J.I. "Just Incredible" Albrecht. Huard was a solid NCAA, NFL and CFL player and a capable coach, winning the Vanier Cup in 1979 and 1981 with Acadia, but he never landed in the right CFL situation.

Gary Etcheverry, Toronto, 4-8, 2002: Etcheverry's had a long and impressive career as a CFL assistant, including as a defensive coordinator with Toronto, Saskatchewan and B.C., and he's also found success overseas, but his one CFL head coaching stint did not go well. The Argos went just 4-8 under him, and team president Michael "Pinball" Clemons then stepped in, firing Etcheverry and taking the reins himself again. Clemons would go on to lead the Argos to the 2004 Grey Cup. Oddly enough, though, that's not Etcheverry's worst coaching stint. That would be his ill-fated attempt to bring the double-wing offence to CIS football in 2012 as the head coach at the University of Ottawa, where he was fired after an 0-5 start and a player mutiny.

Greg Marshall, Saskatchewan, 1-7, 2011: Marshall has also piled up an impressive resume as a CFL defensive coordinator (he currently holds that role with Edmonton, but has also worked with Saskatchewan, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Hamilton), but his long-awaited head-coaching stint didn't go well. That wasn't all on him, as the Riders had a convoluted leadership structure that year, but Marshall's coaching job wasn't the greatest, and he was replaced by vice-president of football operations Ken Miller partway through the season.