Historic Hiring: Campbell named first REDBLACKS coach | CFL.ca | Official Site of the Canadian Football League
REDBLACKS Head Coach Rick Campbell 1-on-1
Scott Grant/Ottawa RedBlacks

CFL.ca Staff

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa REDBLACKS have found their man. The expansion CFL franchise announced Friday at a news conference that they have named Rick Campbell the first-ever Head Coach in club history.

This is Campbell’s first head coaching position in the CFL after spending the majority of the last 14 years as an assistant coach in Calgary and Edmonton.

"I'd like to thank Marcel Desjardins, Jeff Hunt and the OSEG ownership for this incredible opportunity," said Campbell.  "I'd also like to thank Coach John Hufnagel in Calgary and the other coaches and players I've worked with and learned from over the years. 

Campbell's Coaching History

2012-2013 – Calgary Stampeders (CFL) - Defensive Coordinator
2011 – Edmonton Eskimos (CFL) - Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator
2010 – Calgary Stampeders (CFL) - Running Backs Coach
2009 – Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL) - Defensive Backs/Special Teams Coordinator
2005-08 – Edmonton Eskimos (CFL) - Defensive Coordinator
1999-2004 – Edmonton Eskimos (CFL) - Defensive Secondary/Special Teams Coordinator
1996-98 – University of Oregon (NCAA) – Graduate Assistant - Defensive Secondary/Special Teams

"Right now my top priority is to help Marcel, Brock (assistant general manager Brock Sunderland), Jeremy (pro/college scout Jeremy Snyder) and Miles (scout Miles Gorrell) prepare for the expansion draft and a very busy off-season.  After that, it's creating an environment for players and other coaches that's all about football, establishing our team identity and winning games."

Campbell was most recently the defensive coordinator of the Stampeders where he led one of the league’s top set of defenders. In 2013, Campbell’s defence finished in a tie for second with the most interceptions (22) and two of his pass rushers finished in the Top 3 in quarterback sacks (Charleston Hughes and Cordarro Law).  His defence also gave up the second-fewest amount of points with 413.

Under Campbell’s tutelage Calgary’s defence produced West Division All-Stars and Hughes was named a league All-Star this week.

Campbell’s first stint with the Stamps came in 2010 when he was the running backs coach and guided the team’s powerful ground attack that led the CFL with 2,618 rushing yards.

"Rick is a coach who earned this opportunity," said REDBLACKS General Manager Marcel Desjardins.  "He started coaching at the university level and then, over the next 15 years, served as a CFL assistant coach on offence, defense and special teams.  Rick did it right, learning his craft from some very good football men and I'm delighted to welcome him to the REDBLACKS organization."

In 2011, Campbell assumed the role of assistant head coach and special teams coordinator with the Edmonton Eskimos. That season the Eskimo cover teams were among the best in the league and the Esks' finished first in the league in net punting. Of the 13 seasons that Campbell has coached in the CFL, 10 have been spent with the Eskimos.

"This is an historic day in the history of our franchise," said Jeff Hunt, President of OSEG Sports.  "Rick Campbell will become the everyday face of the franchise and the man who'll set the tone for how we play on the field.  I can hardly wait for opening day in our beautiful new stadium, cheering on the REDBLACKS with 24,000 of my best friends and neighbours."

Campbell started his CFL coaching career in 1999 as Edmonton’s special teams and linebackers coach. By 2004, Rick held the team’s defensive coordinator position and his defences consistently led the league in several key categories.

Campbell won two Grey Cups with the Eskimos in 2003 and 2005.

Rick spent the 2009 season Winnipeg Blue Bombers, followed by one season in Calgary and, finally, the 2011 campaign back in Edmonton.

He was a coach at the University of Oregon from 1996-98 where he worked with the Ducks’ defensive secondary. In 1994-95, he was a teacher and coach with the football and baseball teams at Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane.

Fan Comments
"To be honest with you, I'm really not to keen on the Redblacks coming into the league they way they are. From my standpoint, all I can see is that Gee whiz, they finally got a team, and now they get to pick whomever they want from all the rest of our teams in Canada. Why would anyone in their right mind (CFL) do it this way. Each and every one of our teams started from square one, and have been working their way up to the goal of winning a Grey Cup. There were a lot of teams that gave out their blood, sweat and tears, and worked very hard for what they got. They paid their dues and worked hard just to become a team, then Ottawa (....and then along came Jones).... stepped into the CFL and told them they were going to have a team called the Red/Blacks. Now, that's good, but I think they should have their own scouts, and start hunting down their coaches, and players from wherever coaches and players are. Maybe they could find their own Fantuze, or Calvillo, or Getzlaf (you get my drift here)... Maybe they could even put a team together all by themselves and start the same way everyone else did, why offer them 3 choices in every team, to take the easy way out just so that Ottawa can be a happy camper. We all fought tooth and nail to build our teams, and that took years, but we all prevailed, and teams and bonds were formed. Some dreams were fulfilled, some were not, but we are all still a work in progress and that is something the CFL didn't hand to us on a plate. I think Ottawa should have a team, but I think they should start at the beginning, and do like everyone else did. I really don't get it! We all started from scratch-Ottawa gets it served to them.....I "REALLY" don't get it at all."

December 06, 2013 - 5:15pm
als rule
no idea what your rant about quebec was and is probably for the best!! per your main issue: every pro league has an entry draft for a new team entering their league, so nothing wrong here!! ottawa paid a few million to come into the league that each team gets an equal share of!! this allows ottawa to draft 3 players from each team!! nothing wrong here either!! the draft isn't done to allow ottawa to go to the GC BUT to fight for a p/off spot!! after the expansion draft, F/Agency and the CIS/NCAA C player draft ottawa becomes like every other CFL team in developing its own talent!! win, lose or draw!! it's fair and nothing wrong with the process!!
December 06, 2013 - 10:26pm
why? it would serve no purpose to have two doormats in the east, Ottawa and future doormats Montreal
December 06, 2013 - 10:40pm
als rule
@T: oh humour again LOL!! NOT!! future doormat along with ottawa you say is indeed the toronto argonauts!!
December 06, 2013 - 11:25pm
als rule
has been confirmed by several sources that ottawa will indeed in the QB section of the expansion draft take as one of their 2 QBs montreal's tanner marsh!!
December 06, 2013 - 4:59pm
Lets not kid ourselves, he should be able to win very quickly. He should have a highly competitive team unless Desjardins really badly messes up. If he doesn't win when he should be winning there will be a lot of pressure. Good luck, you'll need it.
December 06, 2013 - 4:51pm
als rule
what does win very quickly mean? 1 year, 2 years, 3 years or what?!! what's meant if desjardins doesn't mess up really bad?!! I expect ottawa to be able to fight for a p/off spot by the 3rd year!!
December 06, 2013 - 10:16pm
Good choice and we'll deserving to be HC of the Redblacks....nothing but we'll wishes to the whole organization. On another plus...should keep Cortez as OC of my Riders since all HC jobs are now finalized.
December 06, 2013 - 2:01pm
I heard a rumor B.C. is trying to lure Cortez to be OC and assistant HC or something. Like you I hope there is nothing to it.
December 06, 2013 - 4:48pm
als rule
congrats to ottawa and campbell on being named the 1st ever HC of the redblacks!! have to start somewhere in the building process of the on the field product!!
December 06, 2013 - 12:23pm
Depending on how the team fares over the next 2-3 years, he will either become respected and loved or vilified and infamous! Good Luck with the REDBLACKS!
December 06, 2013 - 11:19am