Jaime Elizondo finalizes Edmonton Football Team coaching staff for 2021 CFL season

Head coach Jaime Elizondo has officially finalized his Edmonton Football Team coaching staff for the 2021 CFL season.

Elizondo leads the group as a first-year bench boss. Along with his head coaching duties, Elizondo will also serve as the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

The full 2021 staff:

Jaime Elizondo — head coach, offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach
Noel Thorpe — assistant head coach, defensive coordinator, defensive backs coach
AJ Gass — special teams coach, linebackers coach
Winston October — passing game coordinator, receivers coach
Demetrious Maxie — defensive line coach
John McDonell — offensive line coach
Chris Rippon — assistant to the head coach, special teams assistant
James Vollono — running backs coach
Derek Oswalt — defensive assistant
Vincent Campbell — offensive assistant

Elizondo brings over 20 years of coaching expertise to the EE Football Team with stops at the CFL, NFL, XFL, NCAA, and high school level. He rose to CFL coaching prominence as the offensive coordinator of the Ottawa Redblacks from 2016-2018, appearing in two Grey Cups in three years and winning one (2016).




Offences coached by Elizondo have a reputation for being prolific and spreading the ball around. In his first season as Redblacks play-caller, he led an offence which saw four receivers eclipse the 1,000 yard mark. In Elizondo’s final season with Ottawa, three Redblacks receivers eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark, William Powell rushed for 1,362 yards, and current EE Football Team quarterback Trevor Harris set a career-high for passing yards with 5,116.

Elizondo’s most recent coaching stint was with the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL, where he served as offensive coordinator under former CFL and NFL head coach Marc Trestman. After taking over play calling duties in Week 3, the Vipers averaged over 29 points per game on offence for the remainder of the season.

Thorpe enters his 18th season as a CFL coach and his ninth as a defensive coordinator having previously held the role with both the Ottawa Redblacks and the Montreal Alouettes. Prior to his work in the CFL, Thorpe coached in Canada at the USports level at the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Montreal. During his CFL career, he has appeared in five Grey Cups, four with Montreal and one with Ottawa.

Gass returns for his third year as the EE Football Team’s special teams coach. Gass will also serve as the team’s linebackers coach, the position he held as a player with the team from 1998-2007. His coaching career began as a defensive assistant with the Green and Gold in 2008, before holding head coaching roles for Servite High School (2013-2014) and Garces High School (2015-2018) in his home state of California.

October returns as the team’s receivers coach and pass game coordinator. The former EE Football Team receiver has 14 years of coaching experience, primarily serving as a receivers coach. October has spent the last three years coaching in the CFL — first as a member of the Ottawa Redblacks (2018-2019) prior to joining the EE Football Team’s staff last year.

Maxie is entering his sixth year on the EE Football Team coaching staff and his fourth as defensive line coach. Following a 13-year CFL playing career where he was a two-time league all-star, Maxie began his coaching career as a defensive line and linebackers coach at his alma mater, the University of Texas El Paso. His CFL coaching career began with the BC Lions as a guest coach in 2013 before eventually joining Edmonton in 2016 as a linebackers coach.

McDonell returns as the EE Football Team’s offensive line coach for 2021. He brings over 15 years of offensive line coaching experience at the NCAA level with stops at Washington State, Stanford, Notre Dame, Purdue, Bowling Green, Memphis, Idaho, and Tulane. Prior to joining the Green and Gold, McDonnell served as the Ottawa Redblacks offensive line coach from 2018-2019.

Rippon joins the EE Football Team as the assistant to the head coach and special teams assistant. He brings 37 years of college coaching experience with involvement in all three phases of the game. Rippon’s resume includes stops at the University of Mississippi, Marshall University, Rutgers University, and Syracuse University. The 2021 season will be Rippon’s first year coaching north of the border.

Vollono is entering his first year among the CFL coaching ranks. The Mississippi State University grad began his coaching career with his alma mater as a special teams assistant from 2013-2016. He would spend a year with the University of Georgia before joining Florida International University as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach from 2017-2020. This will be Vollano’s first year as a running backs coach.

Oswalt is back as the team’s defensive assistant, a position he has held since 2019. He originally joined the EE Football Team after spending the 2018 season as the University of Calgary Dino’s special teams coordinator. Oswalt began his CFL coaching career in 2012 as a defensive assistant for the EE Football Team, before spending four seasons with the Ottawa Redblacks in various defensive coaching roles.

Campbell joins the EE Football Team as an offensive assistant having held the same role with Simon Fraser University. Campbell was also an offensive assistant and special teams assistant with the Ottawa Redblacks in 2019.

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