January 15, 2020

Eskimos announce 2020 coaching staff


EDMONTON — The Edmonton Eskimos have announced six additions to new head coach Scott Milanovich’s staff, most notably Noel Thorpe, who will serve as the team’s defensive coordinator.

Name Coaching Position
AJ Gass Special Teams Coordinator
Noel Thorpe Defensive Coordinator
Demetrious Maxie Defensive Line Coach
John McDonnell Offensive Line Coach
Winston October Wide Receivers Coach/Passing Game Coordinator
Derek Oswalt  Defensive Assistant

Thorpe has over a decade of coaching experience in the Canadian Football League. He first broke into the league in 2002, when he served as a special teams coordinator with the Montreal Alouettes. He would stick in that role — as well as being a defensive backs coach — until 2007.

He’d then move onto Edmonton to become their special team’s coordinator and defensive backs coach. Thorpe was in that role from 2008-10, while also picking up an assistant head coach tag in the final two seasons of his tenure with the organization.

Thorpe returned to Montreal in 2011, this time as the Als’ defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. He stuck with the organization until 2017 before moving to Ottawa for the 2018 campaign.

Special teams coordinator A.J. Gass, defensive line coach Demetrious Maxie and defensive assistant Derek Oswalt will remain with the organization in their previous roles.

October will make a return to the Eskimos, with whom he played for as a receiver from 2001-04. Following his playing career, he spent time as an assistant with the Virginia Military Institute as well as the College of William & Mary before returning to the CFL as the REDBLACKS’ receivers coach in 2018 — a role he served in until the midway point of last season.

Milanovich will wear several different hats this season, serving as the offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and special teams assistant.