Maybe Jim Popp realizes that the path to the NFL comes from coaching the Montreal Alouettes, not from serving as their G.M.
The veteran CFL personnel executive, who was considered in 2012 for the Colts G.M. position and again in 2013 for the Jets and Panthers G.M. jobs, has fired Marc Trestman’s replacement in Montreal after only five games.
And Popp has made himself the coach.
According to CBC Sports, former Colorado coach Dan Hawkins is out and Popp is in. As our unofficial CFL correspondent Mike Wilkening advises, the Als had been struggling on offense — and they also recently blew a 24-0 first-quarter lead in one of their three losses on the season.
“Jim is the person most responsible for the success we have had over all these years,” Alouettes owner Bob Wetenhall said. “I feel confident that he is the best person to coach our team at this time and I am very appreciative of him being willing to make this additional contribution to our franchise. He has the respect of our players as well as mine.”
Trestman coached the Alouettes for five years before becoming head coach of the Bears.
A North Carolina native who played receiver and defensive back at Michigan State, Popp has worked in the CFL for more than 20 years. He started with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1992 as receivers coach and director of player personnel. He later served as G.M. of the Baltimore Stallions (yes, at one point the CFL expanded into the United States) before landing with the Alouettes in 1996 as General Manager.
It’s not Popp’s first tour as coach of the Alouettes. He did it before in 2001, and in 2006-07.
Still only 48 (that sounds young when the person making the observation is also 48), Popp is firmly on the NFL’s radar screen. Though he may not be destined to be a coach in the NFL, the extra exposure won’t hurt his cause for an eventual G.M. position.
It’ll also help if Trestman ends up succeeding in Chicago.