Former Alouettes head coach Joe Scannella dies at age 89

Joe Scannella, who coached the Montreal Alouettes to two Grey Cup games in the 1970s, has died, the CFL club announced Tuesday.

The team was informed by a family member that Scannella, who was 89, died Thursday in California.

Scannella took over the Alouettes when legendary coach Marv Levy left after the 1977 season. Montreal reached the CFL championship game in 1978 and 1979, losing both to the Edmonton Eskimos.

The Passaic, N.J., native was fired in September, 1981 after the Alouettes lost an eighth straight game to drop to 1-9 for the season despite having the league’s highest payroll. Newly acquired ex-NFL quarterback Vince Ferragamo had thrown 21 interceptions and only six touchdowns when owner Nelson Skalbania opted to axe his head coach.

Scannella had a 28-28-2 record in four seasons in Montreal.

He had been the Alouettes quarterbacks and running backs coach under Kay Dalton in 1969 before moving to the University of Vermont and later becoming an assistant coach for the Oakland Raiders, with whom he won a Super Bowl in 1976.

He was also an assistant coach with the Cleveland Browns in the 1980s before returning to the Raiders. He retired from coaching in 1994, but later worked as a scout for the Indianapolis Colts.