March 6, 2014

Higgins unveils 2014 coaching staff Staff

MONTREAL — New Alouettes head coach Tom Higgins unveiled his 2014 coaching staff today, naming Rick Worman as the team’s offensive coordinator.

Higgins, who was hired by the Alouettes last week, stayed true to his word by taking only 10 days to announce his full staff.

Higgins will be able to count on a mix of experience and youth among his personnel this upcoming season, including three former coaches from the Quebec football conference.

Here is the Alouettes’ full 2014 coaching staff:

Tom Higgins, Head Coach (1st season with the Alouettes)

Higgins is entering his 23rd  season as a CFL coach with additional years as an administrator. He began his CFL coaching career in 1985 as an assistant with the Calgary Stampeders. Prior to joining the Stampeders, he served three years on the coaching staff at the University of Calgary, working for Canadian Football Hall of Fame coach Peter Connellan and helping the Dinos win the 1983 Vanier Cup.

He won the Grey Cup as a head coach with the Edmonton in Eskimos in 2003, earning the CFL’s Coach of the Year Award that same season as well as in 2005 as head coach of the Stampeders.

Noel Thorpe, Defensive Coordinator, Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Backs Coach (8th season with the Alouettes)

Thorpe is entering his second year as the Alouettes’ defensive coordinator and is coming off a season in which he coached the defence, which gave up the fewest first downs and fewest yards in the CFL, while also leading the league with 24 interceptions.

Alouettes linebacker Chip Cox thrived in Thorpe’s defensive system, earning the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year award after tallying career-high defensive tackles (115) and quarterback sacks (12) while also racking up four interceptions, and 12 tackles for losses totaling 42 yards.

In 2011 and 2012, Thorpe was part of the Université de Montréal coaching staff, spending his final season with the Carabins as the team’s defensive coordinator, allowing the fewest points in the country with 102.

Rick Worman, Offensive Coordinator (1st season with the Alouettes)

A former quarterback with the Edmonton Eskimos, Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders, Worman returns to the CFL after coaching quarterbacks with the Mississippi Valley State University Delta Devils last season.

In 2012, he served as a scout for the Ottawa REDBLACKS, and was the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ running backs coach before that. He spent seven seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos, working as a West Coast Scout for four years before joining the coaching staff as the quarterbacks coach in 2007 and adding the title of offensive coordinator in 2008.

Prior to joining the Eskimos, Worman spent time as the head coach of the Arena Football League 2’s Fresno Frenzy in 2002 and the offensive coordinator of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2001. That season, the Bombers led the league in virtually every offensive category en route to a 14-4 record and a Grey Cup appearance.

His coaching career includes three Grey Cup appearances and two Grey Cup championships. He has previously coached former CFL MVP quarterbacks Ricky Ray and Khari Jones.

Ryan Dinwiddie , Quarterbacks Coach (2nd season with the Alouettes)

After beginning his playing career with the Alouettes in 2005, Dinwiddie also made his coaching debut in Montreal last season as the club’s quality control coach on offence, assisting the team’s offensive coaches with game planning and breaking down opposing film. In his second season with the Alouettes, Dinwiddie will work closer with the quarterbacks in addition to the rest of the offensive staff.

Erik Campbell, Receivers Coach (2nd season with the Alouettes)

Campbell is entering his second season with the Alouettes after spending the previous five years coaching running backs at the University of Iowa. As the Alouettes’ receivers coach in 2013, he saw S.J. Green voted as a unanimous pick on the CFL All-Star team after finishing second in the CFL for total receiving yards (1,197) and first in receiving touchdowns (13).

Campbell also helped rookie receiver Duron Carter amass 909 receiving yards and score five touchdowns in just 11 games. Previously, Campbell was the assistant head coach and receivers coach with the University of Michigan Wolverines from 1995 to 2007, helping prepare future first-round NFL draft pick receivers Braylon Edwards, David Terrell and Charles Woodson.

Mark Speckman, Running Backs Coach (2nd season with the Alouettes)

Speckman is entering his second season in Montreal after coaching three Alouettes running backs to Top-15 finishes in the CFL (Jerome Messam, Tyrell Sutton and Brandon Whitaker) in 2013. Before arriving in Montreal a year ago, Speckman was the head coach of the Menlo College Oaks, although he is best known for his achievements at Willamette University where he coached the Bearcats for 17 seasons, including 14 years as head coach.

During his tenure as head coach at Willamette, he posted an overall record of 82-59 (.582) from 1998 to 2011. He also ranks third all-time at Willamette in career wins. Speckman was named the NWC conference Coach of the Year in both 1999 and 2008.

André Bolduc, Offensive Quality Control Coach and Special Teams Assistant (1st season with the Alouettes)

Bolduc, a former Head Coach with the Université de Sherbrooke Vert et Or for five seasons from 2007 to 2011, returns to Montreal and to professional football as a coach. After becoming the head coach of the Vert & Or in 2007, Bolduc led the team to its first playoff win in school history as well as to the Dunsmore Cup final in 2010.

The following season, he was named the Quebec Conference Coach of the Year after leading Sherbrooke to a 7-2 record. With the Alouettes, he will rejoin linebacker Nicolas Boulay and receiver Ismael Bamba, both of whom he coached at Sherbrooke. As a player, Bolduc played for the Ottawa Rough Riders and Edmonton Eskimos before landing in Montreal from 1998 to 2001, where he emerged as a leader and was named a special teams captain in 1999 and 2000.

Kris Sweet, Offensive Line Coach (1st season with the Alouettes)

Sweet is entering his first season with the Alouettes having previously coached in the CFL for the past five years, including as the Edmonton Eskimos’ offensive line coach in 2013. He began his CFL coaching career in Calgary as the Stampeders’ offensive line coach from 2007-2010, helping the team win the Grey Cup in 2008 over the Alouettes at Olympic Stadium.

In his last two seasons in Calgary, the Stamps’ o-line paved the way for a league rushing title for running back Joffrey Reynolds. In Sweet’s first season with the Stamps, the club led the CFL in both total offence and rushing offence. In 2012, he was the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ offensive line coach and run game coordinator.

Keith Willis, Defensive Line Coach (2nd season with the Alouettes)

Willis returns to the Alouettes for a second season after contributing to Montreal’s dominant defence in 2013. Under Willis last year, defensive end John Bowman recorded 11 quarterback sacks, good for fifth in the CFL, in addition to registering upwards of 30 defensive tackles for a sixth-consecutive season. Willis also saw first-year defensive lineman Aaron Lavarias amass 42 defensive tackles and six quarterback sacks.

Previously a defensive line coach for the North Carolina State Wolfpack from 2007 to 2012, Willis also enjoyed a long playing career as a defensive lineman himself before becoming a coach, spending 12 years in the NFL and recording 59 career quarterback sacks over 12 seasons, including 10 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Greg Quick, Linebackers Coach (1st season with the Alouettes)

Greg Quick arrives in Montreal with a wealth of coaching experience that spans over 30 years across both the professional and collegiate ranks. Most recently Quick spent the 2010 and 2011 seasons as the Toronto Argonauts’ linebackers coach. Following his stint in the CFL, Quick went on to join the Northwood University Timberwolves’ coaching staff as the team’s offensive coordinator in the spring of 2012. Quick’s diverse coaching career dates back to 1979, when he was named the defensive coordinator at Emporia State. 

He was then the offensive coordinator at Heidelberg College as well as the linebackers coach at New Mexico State. Quick’s first head coaching experience at the collegiate level came at the University of Chicago in 1989, a position he held until the 1994 season.  He was also was the head coach at St. Norbert College from 1994 to 1999 before eventually holding the same role at Concord University from 2003 to 2008.

Anwar Stewart, Defensive Quality Control Coach (1st season with the Alouettes)

Following a stellar 13-year playing career in the CFL, former defensive end Anwar Stewart will make his coaching debut in 2014 after being named the club’s new defensive quality control coach.

Last season, Stewart rejoined the Alouettes roster after making eight Grey Cup appearances with the club between 2002 and 2011, winning a trio of championships in 2002, 2009 and 2010. The 37-year-old spent 10 years in Montreal and sits in second place in club’s all-time record book for career quarterback sacks with 66. The CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2004, Stewart was also named a CFL All-Star in 2004 and 2009.

Jean-Vincent Posy-Audette, Defensive Assistant and Special Teams Assistant (1st season with the Alouettes)

Posy-Audette is entering his first season in Montreal in 2014, joining André Bolduc for whom he worked as special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach at Sherbrooke beginning in 2007.

The 34-year-old graduate from Laval University played four seasons as a defensive back with the Rouge et Or from 1996 to 1999, hoisting the Vanier Cup in his final year of eligibility and bringing the championship back to the province of Quebec for the first time since 1987. In 2000, Posy-Audette made the leap to professional football and signed with the Toronto Argonauts, playing in one game during that season.