He’s been a player, an assistant coach and a head coach in the CFL. Now Kavis Reed will get to try his hand at being a general manager.
The Montreal Alouettes announced Wednesday that Reed has been hired as their new GM. He replaces Jim Popp, who was fired Nov. 7.
The Alouettes also announced the surprising hiring of Patrick Boivin as their president and chief executive officer and removed the interim tag from head coach Jacques Chapdelaine’s job title.
Boivin replaces Mark Weightman, who the Alouettes said has resigned as club president. Weightman spent the last four years in that post and 21 years with the organization.
The GM move was also somewhat surprising given Reed has no previous experience as a general manager. He served as Montreal’s assistant head coach and special-teams co-ordinator last season but has coached all three phases in the CFL and thus understands the nuances of the Canadian game.
Reed, who interviewed for the GM’s job Sunday, is familiar with the makeup of the CFL’s 44-man roster (21 international players, 20 nationals, three quarterbacks of any nationality and two reserve players). He’s also aware of having to start at least seven national – or Canadian – performers each game.
The 43-year-old native of Georgetown, S.C., also brings a player’s perspective to the job. Reed spent five seasons (1995-99) as a defensive back with the Edmonton Eskimos before being forced to retire due to a neck injury.
Reed began his CFL coaching career as Toronto’s special-teams co-ordinator and defensive backs coach and served as Edmonton’s head coach from 2011-13. Reed has also been an assistant with Ottawa, Saskatchewan, Hamilton and Winnipeg before joining the Alouettes’ staff this year.
Popp spent 21 seasons with the Alouettes after originally joining the Baltimore Stallions in 1994, who later moved to Montreal in 1996. The franchise appeared in eight Grey Cup games during Popp’s tenure, winning in 2002, 2009 and 2010.
Montreal has missed the CFL playoffs the last two seasons after reaching the 2014 East Division final. Popp assumed coaching duties in Montreal in 2015 but relinquished the job following a 3-9 start to the 2016 campaign and being replaced on an interim basis by Chapdelaine.
The Alouettes were 4-2 under Chapdelaine but finished 7-11 overall.
The franchise also interviewed University of Montreal head coach Danny Maciocia, Ottawa Redblacks assistant GM Brock Sunderland and Alouettes assistant GM Joey Abrams to succeed Popp. Sunderland announced this week he was notified the job wasn’t his.
Maciocia, 49, a native of St-Leonard, Que., was regarded as the overwhelming favourite for the job. Not only did he get his start in the CFL as Montreal’s offensive quality-control coach but Maciocia won a Grey Cup as head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos in ’05 and also served as their general manager.
The Alouettes reportedly offered Maciocia their president of football operations position but he turned it down to remain at the University of Montreal, where he’s been since 2011. He guided the Carabins to a Vanier Cup title in 2014.
Reed won’t have the luxury of time to ease into his new job. The Alouettes have over 20 pending free agents, including safety Marc-Olivier Brouillette and centre Luc Brodeur-Jourdain – both Canadians – along with linebackers Winston Venable and Kyries Hebert, receiver Nik Lewis and defensive linemen Alan-Michael Cash and Gabriel Knapton.
The Alouettes promoted Reed and defensive co-ordinator Noel Thorpe to assistant head coach in November 2015. Reed was mentioned as a potential successor to Popp as head coach in September before the club promoted Chapdelaine to that post.