Here’s a dark horse name for the Alouettes job: Marcel Bellefeuille

So the question, as always: what the hell is going on in Montreal?

Thursday morning, reports surfaced that B.C. defensive coordinator Mark Washington and Argonauts receivers’ coach Tommy Condell – the leading contenders for the vacant Alouettes’ head coaching – had been removed from contention. With Calgary Stampeders defensive coordinator DeVone Claybrooks having already dropped out (he was the leading contender from the get-go) the list of possibilities is getting mighty short.

And while it could be an off-the-board name like Kerwin Bell or Gary Crowton, here are two other possibilities.

The first is that general manager Kavis Reed will decide to keep the job, despite his insistence that he didn’t want it. The argument is easy enough: I couldn’t find a suitable candidate and am therefore forced to stay in the role. Reed was a head coach in Edmonton from 2011 to 2013 and served in the role on an interim basis for the Alouettes after firing Jacques Chapdelaine. The team went 0-7 under Reed.

But here’s a dark horse name: Marcel Bellefeuille.

The current B.C. Lions receivers’ coach makes sense on a number of fronts. He has head coaching experience, having led the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for three seasons from 2009 to 2011. That too was a rebuild: he took over a team that won 17 games over the previous three seasons and, in conjunction with general manager Bob O’Billovich, led the Ticats to three straight playoff appearances, including the East Final in 2011.

He is also fully bilingual – no small thing in La Belle Province. Bellefeuille isn’t a Quebecer (he was born in Ottawa) but having a head coach able to do interviews in both official languages would be a boon to an organization that needs support from the Francophone constituency. It was a central reason they kept Chapdelaine last season and courted University of Montreal boss Danny Maciocia before hiring Reed. Bellefeuille was terrific with the media during his time in Hamilton.

Bellefeuille did some professional development with his year of paid vacation after being fired by the Ticats – who went 6-12 under George Cortez the following season – before a three-year stint as the offensive coordinator in Winnipeg. Then to the Lions, where he’s been for two seasons. He was not part of the group the team parted ways with last week, which included offensive coordinator Khari Jones. He hasn’t been a head coach in a while but he knows the CFL and has relationships across the league.

In short, Bellefeuille makes a lot of sense for Montreal. Which does not necessarily mean the Alouettes will do it.

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1527 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

34 Comments on Here’s a dark horse name for the Alouettes job: Marcel Bellefeuille

  1. So the Als are gonna follow the Habs stupid lead with the french coach thing. As a Habs fan, I have to say, it totally handicaps the job search when they have to be bilingual. Football (or hockey) should come first, always.

    • Paul Bomber // December 14, 2017 at 7:49 pm //

      I get your point, but I can also understand how it’s easier to sell the game and put bums in the seats if Francophones can understand the coach. It’s always been a tricky situation there.

      • I don’t think fans really care if a coach speaks French, it doesn’t make any difference that the Impact coach doesn’t speak it or that an Expo coach/manager never spoke it.
        As for the players if you don’t speak English you won’t go far in the CFL , football language is English

  2. Surprise no one has mentioned Danny Barrett, currently RB coach with the Dolphins. I believe he and Reed have a connection together.

    • He’s probably earning more money as a RB coach with the Dolphins than he could earn as a CFL coach

  3. Paul Bomber // December 14, 2017 at 7:44 pm //

    Not sure how justified it was, but he took a ton of heat when he was in Wpg. Was he simply getting the blame for a light-on-talent O? We had diddly for an O line, so pretty hard to do much if your QB is spending all his time running for his life!
    The bilingual piece is nice though (as long as it’s not seen as an acceptable alternative to coaching capability of course!)

    • Lancaster/Reed // December 14, 2017 at 7:59 pm //

      My biggest knock on marcel as a OC was that the delayed draw play seemed to be the only runnung play he knew, and everybody could see it coming.

  4. Blackhawk89 // December 14, 2017 at 7:52 pm //

    Montreal is on the verge of being a complete disaster.

    • Brian Lower // December 15, 2017 at 5:45 am //

      Just like Toronto was at this time last year

    • habbernack // December 15, 2017 at 2:54 pm //

      Blackhawk…. On the verge…They’ve been a disaster since Reed took over the team. The only reason he would coach himself is because he can’t find anyone willing to come to that mess. IMO

  5. Not sure about this. Unsuccessful in Hamilton (never got above 0.500), and unsuccessful in Winnipeg (yes, I know they didn’t have a QB then). The track record doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. But he might be all they can get with their ownership structure.

    • And before him they tried another Canadian coach, Greg Marshal, the Ticats also tried a Canadian at OC the past couple of years – Patazek.
      Stop hiring Canadians, look for the best coaches out there with the best resume.

      • The “best resumes” for guys like Lancaster, Taaffe & Cortez made a huge difference to the Cat fortunes, didn’t they?

        • Lancaster took a team that only won a couple of games in 1997 to the Grey Cup in ’98 and won in ’99 – I would class that as making a difference – the other two made a difference in the opposite direction.

          • For that instance … sure.

            I was talking about Lancaster firing Marshall as supposedly the HC was the problem. Lancaster as HC went 4-10 that season.

            At the end of the day, a good resume and previous success may make no difference.

          • Lancaster was in declining health by that point in time – already had cancer once – I don’t think Lancaster was the GM at that point in 2006 anyways. Don Matthews never won a game (0-8 in 2008 with Argos) but the body of work was pretty good.

  6. Well he’s not getting the OC gig in BC so as the receivers coach & an ongoing purge in BC you would think he was one of the best candidates left standing, bilingual or not. Reed coming back as coach would be deja vu when Popp anointed himself due to “necessity”. What is it about 0 wins for the season when Kavis took over this past season that shouts “pick me”. I doubt he is that naive. Bomb out again on coaching & the cushy GM job is not far behind.

  7. Hiring Marcel Bellefeuille would make a ton of sense for Montreal – this is of course the primary reason that it will never happen.

    • I can’t see how it makes a “ton of sense” let’s face it with his record he wouldn’t be hired anywhere if he was not Canadian

  8. i thought marcel did a good rebuild here with obie. i particularly liked the culture that he built with the ticats. and montreal needs both, a rebuild and a new culture.
    marcel is a good man; i don’t know if i’d want to see him immersed in that mess.

  9. Excellent choice. Please make him an offer.

  10. Edward Leslie // December 15, 2017 at 12:18 am //

    I agree, Bellefeuille has previous experience (and success) as a Head Coach and Coordinator, is Bilingual and is available. But like Drew says, that doesn’t mean that Reed will do it. I think he’s really done a horrible job as Coach & GM in Montreal. He did a terrible job in Edmonton too. The only guys who would be less welcome on my team would be Bernie and Lonnie Glieberman as owners!

    • Just forget the “bilingual” thing. It doesn’t make one bit of difference or give a coach any advantage.
      The Als have as many French Canadians on their team as other teams in the league.
      As far as I know, Tressman, Dave Ritchie, Don Mathews, Marv Levy were all successful and never spoke French.
      Chapedelaine was bilingual but a failure

  11. Bellefeuille would be an excellent choice. I thought he did a terrific job in Hamilton, especially his handling of the young QB’s. Then hire Tommy Condell as OC then Als might have something.

    • Why did Hamilton fire him if he was a terrific coach then?
      Chapdelaine was bilingual but not successful in Montreal.
      Have to forget the Canadian coach thing and go after the best for the job

      • O’Billovich wanted to win immediately before he retired and for some ridiculous reasons, he thought George Cortez was the answer to getting him a Grey Cup.

  12. Marcel would be OK. But the guy I would go out and hire is Jim Barker. He would be a great HC and also help with personnel

  13. Als need to look outside the box like they did years ago with Trestman. No more retreads per say and give one of the guys down south a shot at it. Maybe lightning will strike twice.

  14. “Nobody wants to be my coach” ?? “what say you”

  15. Why not give Dyce another shot. Familiar with DD.
    And not thrown into the fire mid season this time like in SK.

  16. I don’t see how DD would fly another year with Als. He hasn’t been good for 3 years now & he’s not getting any younger. I have a hard time believing DD is a starting QB anywhere in the league this year.

  17. Morty Faerman // December 18, 2017 at 10:26 am //

    It looks like they can’t find a HC.They already passed the dead-line set by Kavis Reed.The Wettenhalls could be the reason.

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