Anthony Calvillo believes he’s ready to be CFL head coach but has not interviewed for Alouettes job

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Anthony Calvillo is a living legend in the city of Montreal but he won’t be the next head coach of his beloved Alouettes.

The Hall of Fame quarterback joined TSN 690’s Campbell vs Gallo this week to talk about his new book Le Passeur and revealed that he has not been asked to interview for the team’s vacant head coaching position. That’s a reality he says he is at peace with.

“We all have a personal journey. I had it in football, now I have it in coaching. And to me, it’d be nice to earn the right to have that interview and if I don’t have the interview, I’m actually fine with it,” Calvillo explained.

“I just want to make sure that people understand that I’m going to keep working hard and bring value to a team and that’s all I want right now, is just to continue to grow as a coach and one day, have that opportunity. But if it doesn’t come, believe me, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it whatsoever. I just want our football team to have success and be part of it as well.”

The Alouettes have been in search of a new head coach since Khari Jones was fired after a 1-3 start to the 2022 season. General manager Danny Maciocia took over the sidelines in an interim capacity and lead the team to an 8-6 finish, helping them advance to the East Final for the first time in eight years, but has remained insistent he will not hold both roles next year.

Internal candidates are being strongly considered for the position, namely defensive coordinator Noel Thorpe and assistant head coach Andre Bolduc, but Calvillo is not believed to be among them. The 50-year-old spent the 2022 season as the team’s quarterbacks coach and took over as the offensive play-caller following Jones’ firing, helping the Alouettes become the highest scoring offence in the East Division.

While he isn’t about to push the issue, Calvillo does believe he is ready to become a head coach in the CFL.

“I believe so. There’s always a situation where you want to grow in your profession. I started off as a quarterbacks coach, had a chance to be an offensive coordinator, and each time I’ve taken that next step up, there is a lot of responsibility that comes with it,” he said. “Even this year when I went from quarterbacks coach to calling the plays after the fifth game and my goodness, my life changed. Because as a quarterbacks coach the day before a game you’re able to relax and spend time with your family but as a play caller, I had to spend my time like I was a player all over again and get myself ready to visualize calling a game.”

“So I could imagine taking that next step of having more responsibility because now you’re managing the entire team players and everything that comes with that. It’s just one of those things where you feel that you’re ready but you’ve also got to earn that right and have somebody believe that you’re ready as well. That’s kind of the situation we’re in right now.”

Calvillo arrived in La Belle Province in 1998, going on to lead the Alouettes to eight Grey Cup appearances and three victories. He retired as the CFL’s all-time leader in career passing yards with 79,816 and touchdowns with 455, earning induction into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2017.

Following his retirement, Calvillo had a tumultuous three-year stint on the Alouettes’ coaching staff. He began as a receivers’ coach in 2015 before being promoted to quarterbacks coach and later co-offensive coordinator. Calvillo began the 2016 season as the primary play-caller before then-head coach Jaques Chapdelaine took over in September. Calvillo remained on as the Alouettes’ quarterbacks coach through the 2017 season and then spent the 2018 season in the same capacity with the Toronto Argonauts.

Maciocia brought Calvillo back to Montreal in 2019 to serve under him as the assistant head coach at the Université de Montréal. The pair went to a Vanier Cup final together that season before Maciocia left to become general manager of the Alouettes. Calvillo assumed the offensive coordinator role with the Carabin in 2021.

Now back in the CFL ranks, Calvillo will likely need to regain a formal offensive coordinator title before his head coaching dreams can be realized. That will likely come down to the preferences and aptitude of whomever Maciocia hires for the top job, but the former quarterback hopes whoever it is sees the value of what he’s produced.

“I want to earn it. I want to feel that somebody believes that I’ve earned it, but if that’s not the timing for me now I’m okay with that. Because I just know for myself, that I’m going to keep working hard, no matter what position that I’m in,” Calvillo stressed.

“When that time comes to either be the official offensive coordinator or head coach or come back as a quarterbacks coach, people know that I’m gonna give everything that I have to help this football team win. And when that time comes to be a possible OC or head coach, well, I’m gonna look forward to the interview and accepting the challenge.”