Ottawa Redblacks hire Barron Miles as defensive coordinator

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

The Ottawa Redblacks have hired legendary CFL safety Barron Miles as their new defensive coordinator.

The move leaves incumbent Mike Benevides on the outside looking in after a challenging season in Ottawa, as new head coach Bob Dyce begins to shape his staff in his own image.

Miles becomes the second major hire made by Dyce since he had his interim tag officially removed on Friday, joining new offensive coordinator Khari Jones. The two coordinators recently served together with the Montreal Alouettes, where Jones hired Miles to call his defence in 2021.

The Alouettes led the CFL in sacks with 49 and tied for the lead with 17 interceptions, allowing the second-fewest passing yards of any team during Miles’ first year at the helm. However, the team fired him and Jones following a 1-3 start to the 2022 season, replacing him with veteran defensive coordinator Noel Thorpe.

Miles spent the remainder of the year in the Canadian university football ranks, serving as defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach with the Bishop’s Gaiters.

Inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2018, the 50-year-old Miles spent 12 years in the CFL as a defensive back, seven seasons with the Alouettes and five with the B.C. Lions. He hoisted the Grey Cup twice as a player in 2002 with Montreal and in 2006 with B.C.

The six-time league all-star made 66 career interceptions — second-most in CFL history — during his playing days. He also holds the league record for most blocked kicks with 13.

The Roselle, N.J. native entered the CFL coaching ranks in 2010 as a defensive assistant with the B.C. Lions for two seasons. In 2015, he served as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ defensive backs coach, after spending the previous three seasons in the same position with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. As a coach, he won Grey Cups with B.C. in 2011 and with Saskatchewan in 2013.

He was Edmonton’s defensive backs and player development coach from 2016 through 2019. With his help, the green and gold finished third in the CFL allowing 22.2 points average per game and second in the league with 31 offensive touchdowns allowed.

Miles has previously worked with Dyce when the two were members of the Saskatchewan Roughriders staff, a team that also had Jones on staff.