The top 12 CFL head coaching candidates

With a head coaching vacancy in Toronto and another coming shortly in B.C. — not to mention another possible opening in Montreal — it’s time to look at which candidates could fill those positions.

DeVone Claybrooks

Claybrooks ended his ten-year playing career in January of 2012 to become the Calgary Stampeders’ defensive line coach. Serving as the club’s defensive coordinator for the past three seasons, Claybrooks is considered by many to be the top head coaching candidate for 2019.

Orlondo Steinauer

Steinauer briefly ended his seven-year coaching tenure in the CFL following the 2016 season when he became the defensive coordinator at Fresno State. Serving now as the Ticats’ assistant head coach, this five-time all-star is earmarked by many to become the next head coach in Hamilton — or elsewhere.

Paul LaPolice

Hamstrung by an inept general manager during his head coaching stint in Winnipeg (2011-2013), LaPolice has reestablished himself as one of the league’s top offensive coordinators. For a team looking to boost its offensive production, LaPolice would make a strong head coaching candidate.

Scott Milanovich

Milanovich won a Grey Cup during his five-year stint as the head coach of the Toronto Argonauts (2012-2016) and helped develop Zach Collaros and Trevor Harris into starting-caliber quarterbacks. Now the quarterbacks coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Milanovich would be a well-regarded head coaching candidate should he ever return north.

Corey Chamblin

Chamblin went 29-34 as the head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders from 2012-2015, a tenure that was highlighted by a Grey Cup championship in 2013. Winning another Grey Cup as Toronto’s defensive coordinator in 2017, Chamblin left the club to become a quality control coach at the University of Arkansas.

Mark Washington

Washington has more than paid his dues, working in the CFL for the past 22 years as a player (1997-2007) and coach (2008-2018). Just finishing his fifth year as the Lions’ defensive coordinator, Washington will be a candidate for his club’s head coaching vacancy as well as openings elsewhere.

Craig Dickenson

The older brother of Dave Dickenson has spent the past 19 years coaching in the CFL and NFL. Spending the past three years with Chris Jones in Saskatchewan, Dickenson could become the first special teams coordinator since Mike O’Shea to get a shot at wearing the big headset.

Marc Trestman

Fired by the Argonauts this past Saturday after a disastrous 2018 season, Trestman remains a well-respected head coach and three-time Grey Cup champion. Trestman will be paid the full value of his 2019 salary — reportedly worth $600,000 — but, at 62, may not have many coaching years left. There’s a good chance he’ll want to coach next season if an opportunity arises.

Kent Austin

Things ended poorly in Hamilton, but Austin is still a 55-year-old veteran coach with a history of success in the CFL. Austin wants to get back into coaching and has experience as a personnel guy — there’s a chance we see him get another shot to build a winner.

Tommy Condell

Condell helped build a winner in Hamilton as the club’s offensive coordinator before resigning prior to the 2016 season. Spending the last two years in Toronto, Condell could get a look as head coach there or elsewhere in the league. Condell interviewed for the Alouettes’ job twice last off-season.

Carson Walch

Walch left Edmonton after two seasons as the club’s offensive coordinator (2016-2017) to become the assistant receivers coach with the Philadelphia Eagles. If Walch could be lured back north, he could be in demand for his work in developing Mike Reilly and James Franklin.

Ryan Dinwiddie

Still just 37, Dinwiddie has served as Calgary’s quarterbacks coach for the past three seasons. It may be early for the former CFL pivot to receive serious head coaching interest, but Dinwiddie has a solid reputation and works very closely with Dave Dickenson. I’d bet on him becoming a CFL head coach within the next half-decade.

John Hodge

John Hodge

John Hodge is a lifelong follower of the CFL who has been writing about the league since 2014. He is a two-time finalist of the Jon Gott lookalike contest.
John Hodge
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John Hodge
About John Hodge (380 Articles)
John Hodge is a lifelong follower of the CFL who has been writing about the league since 2014. He is a two-time finalist of the Jon Gott lookalike contest.