Longtime CFL coach Rich Stubler hired as defensive coordinator at Clearwater Academy International prep school

Photo courtesy: CAI Knights

Longtime CFL coach Rich Stubler has been hired as the defensive coordinator at Clearwater Academy International, a Florida prep school known for producing many of the top Canadian players in the NCAA.

Stubler last served as a defensive assistant with the Toronto Argonauts in 2021, having spent more than three decades in the CFL as either a coordinator or head coach, winning five Grey Cup championships. Prior to coming to Canada, he had assistant coaching and defensive coordinating stops at Colorado, Colorado State, Southern Methodist, New Mexico State and University of Oregon.

The 71-year-old Stubler first came to the CFL in 1983 as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive coordinator. He has held the same position with the Argos, Edmonton Football Team, B.C. Lions and Calgary Stampeders. He also served as head coach in Toronto, going 4-6 during the 2008 season before he was let go.

A small private school in Clearwater, FL which teaches using the educational methods of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, Clearwater Academy International has had a meteoric rise from playing 8-man football in 2015 to becoming one of the states most competitive 11-man high school programs.

That rise has largely been due to the schools dedication to recruiting international talent in order to expand their player base. The bulk of the Knights’ football roster comes from outside the continental United States, most of them from Canada.

That has led to the school producing several of this country’s most dominant college players in recent years. Notable Canadian alumni include receiver Jared Wayne of Pittsburgh, freshman All-American defensive lineman Akheem Mesidor, former Clemson receiver Ajou Ajou, Stanford running back Brendon Barrow, Mississippi State tackle Albert Reese and top ranked Alabama commit Isaiah Hastings, among others.

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.