Eskimos – finally – hire Noel Thorpe as defensive coordinator

Photo Scott Grant /
Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

Edmonton Eskimos head coach Scott Milanovich has hired Noel Thorpe as his defensive coordinator.

Thorpe spent the last two seasons with the Ottawa Redblacks in the same role. He will begin his 17th CFL season with the Esks in 2020 .

He tried to leave Montreal after the 2015 season to join Edmonton but then-commissioner Jeffery Orridge blocked the move, siting that Thorpe was still under contract with the Alouettes.

The Vancouver native broke into the CFL with the Alouettes in 2002 as a special teams Coordinator after spending five years with University of British Columbia Thunderbirds – helping them to a Vanier Cup championship in 1997.

In his first season in Montreal, Thorpe and company helped deliver the first Grey Cup to Montreal since 1977 and returned to the CFL title game with the Als in both 2006 and 2007. During his first tenure in La Belle Province, Thorpe served as the special teams coordinator (2002, 2007) and defensive backs coach (2003-2006).

Thorpe moved to Edmonton in 2008 spending three seasons with the Eskimos as their special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach (2008-2010) in addition to serving as their assistant head coach (2009-2010).

He returned to USports football in 2011 working with Danny Maciocia at the University of Montreal for two seasons, before rejoining to the Alouettes in 2013. He was also the head coach of the gold-medal winning Team Canada Squad that defeated Team USA at the IFAF U19 World Championship in 2012 in Austin, TX.

The former Als defensive backs coach would return in 2013, as their defensive coordinator. In 2014, Thorpe was promoted to assistant head coach in addition to his defensive coordinator duties – positions he held until September 2017.

Milanovich and Thorpe were familiar with one another from their time on the Alouettes coaching staff together.