June 14, 2017

Tributes pour in after loss of game-changing Matthews

TORONTO — Early Wednesday afternoon, the Canadian Football League lost a legend when learning of the passing of hall of fame head coach Don Matthews.

As news spread, so too did tributes from all over North America. A number of  players and coaches, past and present, weighed in with both traditional and social media.

Doug Flutie (Quarterback)

Anthony Calvillo (Quarterback)

“Don’s arrival with the Alouettes was a true blessing for me. He showed a lot of confidence in me and we developed a very special and unique relationship. He was a big reason that this team had a lot of success in Montreal over such a long period. I have kept in contact with him throughout the years and up until his last days. I am deeply saddened by his passing and Don will truly be missed by all.”

Jim Popp (former GM)

“Coach was a true friend,” Popp, who first crossed paths with Matthews with the Baltimore Stallions in 1994, where they first teamed up to win the Grey Cup in 1995, before replicating that feat in 2002 in Montreal. “We loved each other and we believed in each other. In my 26 years in the CFL, Don gave more creative thoughts and thinking to this great game than most of us combined. Most did not know the humanitarian he was and the many he sincerely reached out to help. For those who were fortunate to know him well and to work with him will tell you he was a tremendous teacher on and off the field. We have lost a legend and one of a kind. He will be truly missed but never forgotten. Other than the tears of sorrow, only a smile on my face and great memories will be associated with ‘The Legend’, Coach Don Matthews.”

Kavis Reed (Defensive Back, current GM)

“Today, we mourn the passing of a coaching legend. Don has left no one in the rich history of our league indifferent. Coach Matthews had an unparalleled way of bringing teams together and getting everyone to work on the same common goal. His memory will live on forever.”

Michael Copeland (Argos President)

“We are so saddened by the passing of our legendary coach Don Matthews,” said Michael Copeland, President and CEO of the Argonauts. “Twenty years ago, Don led the Argos to back-to-back Grey Cup championships. We were hopeful he could join us later this year when we honour those Grey Cup teams. But on that day, and every day thereafter, he will always be in our hearts. On behalf of our entire organization and our fans, we send our deepest condolences to the Matthews family, and his many friends and fans across the country. We mourn his passing, but we celebrate his life. We will be forever grateful for the memories he has given us.”

Jacques Chapdelaine (former player, current head coach)

“Don truly left his mark on the Canadian Football League. He was a model and an inspiration for a great deal of coaches in the league, as much for his strategy on the field as for his ability to make teams come together,”

Reggie Givens (Linebacker)

“I loved the fact that he treated us like men. He had fun like we had fun. He enjoyed every win like we would enjoy a win. He was like a coach that played the game with us, if that makes sense.”

Jim Barker (former GM and assistant coach)

“Everything about him, there was a mystique. He had a way with players in that they just believed they were the best. That was his magic. Making players believe there was no way they could lose.”

John Tory (Former CFL Commissioner, current Mayor of Toronto)

Tie Domi (former NHL player, friend)

Matt Black (Defensive Back)

Davis Sanchez (Defensive Back)

“There was nobody previously and there is nobody currently and there won’t be a coach in the future that will ever lead a team they way Don Matthews did. Don gave his players freedom and trust to be there own man and in the same way somehow held his expectations of you as high as any I have ever been around. That was his discipline… “get it done and if you don’t ….” Canadians you will be going home flying East to West and Americans you will be going home North to South,” he called it “Dinner on Delta.”

We all use the term “Swagger” fairly loosely. As I look back on “The Don’s “ coaching career he epitomized  the true meaning of the word SWAGGER .


John Bowman (Defensive End)

Henry Burris (Quarterback)

Jeff Reinebold (Assistant Coach)

James Cybulski (CFL Analyst)