Don Matthews
Sport(s)Canadian football
Current position
TitleHead Coach
Biographical details
Born (1939-06-22) June 22, 1939 (age 80)
Amesbury, Massachusetts, U.S.
Playing career
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Idaho (NCAA) - (GA)
Ely HS - (ass't)
Ely HS
Ferris HS
Idaho (NCAA) - (OL/OC)
Sunset HS
Edmonton Eskimos – (LB)
Edmonton Eskimos(DC)
BC Lions
Edmonton Eskimos – (DC)
Toronto Argonauts
Orlando Thunder - (WLAF)
Sask. Roughriders
Baltimore Stallions
Toronto Argonauts
Edmonton Eskimos
Montreal Alouettes
Toronto Argonauts
Head coaching record
Overall231–132–1 (.636)
Accomplishments and honors
Grey Cups (5): 73rd, 83rd, 84th, 85th, 90th
2nd highest win total by CFL coach

Don Matthews, a.k.a. "The Don", (born June 22, 1939, Amesbury, Massachusetts) is a former head coach of several teams in the Canadian Football League. He won 231 games in the CFL, the second highest win total by a head coach in the league's history. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in September 2011.


From a large family of limited means and education, Matthews quit high school in Amesbury after his senior season of football in 1956 and served three years in the U.S. Marine Corps.[1] He returned home and earned his high school diploma and then on the advice of a teacher, ventured west in 1960 as a 21-year-old freshman to Moscow, Idaho. He walked-on at Idaho as a linebacker on the freshman team;[2] he was awarded a scholarship by varsity head coach Skip Stahley after his first semester. He earned three letters and was a team captain in his senior season of 1963, when the Vandals, in their second year under Dee Andros, achieved their first winning season in a quarter century.[3] Matthews graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in education in 1964.[1][4][5]

Early careerEdit

Matthews was a graduate assistant for the Vandals in Moscow for the 1964 season under Andros and freshman coach Bud Riley.[6] Matthews then coached high school football in Ely, Nevada for four years and won a state title. He relocated to Spokane, Washington in 1969 as head coach at Ferris, where he led the Saxons to the city title in his second and final year.[7] Matthews became a collegiate assistant coach back at his alma mater in 1971 as offensive line coach (later as offensive coordinator), under second-year head coach Don Robbins.[4] After an 0-2 start, the Vandals finished at 8-3 in 1971, which included an eight game winning streak, and won the Big Sky title. At the time it was the best record in school history, and three seniors were selected in the 1972 NFL Draft. Two years later, Robbins was fired following the 1973 season and Matthews moved to the Portland area. He took over a winless program at Sunset High School in Beaverton, Oregon, and won consecutive state championships in 1975 and 1976, going undefeated in his third and final year.[1] He left Sunset after the 1976 season to become a CFL assistant coach in Edmonton, Alberta.

CFL coaching career Edit

Matthews was formerly head coach of the CFL's BC Lions, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Baltimore Stallions, Toronto Argonauts, Edmonton Eskimos, and Montreal Alouettes. He was also head coach of the Orlando Thunder of the World League of American Football.

In October 2006, Matthews stepped down as head coach of the Alouettes expressing undisclosed health issues that were "affecting his ability to perform".[8]

In May, 2008, Matthews was announced as an advisor to the Jeff Hunt-led group's conditional Ottawa franchise.[9]

Don Matthews returned to Toronto on September 9, 2008 as the interim coach for the Argonauts, after they started the season with a 4–6 record.[10] In that press conference, Matthews revealed that the major health reason that caused him to step down as head coach of the Alouettes was an anxiety disorder. He also went further to say that he had been prescribed to some medication and the anxiety attacks are now under control.[11][12]

Matthews' mother, Ida, was a francophone from Tracadie, New Brunswick, while his father, Fred, was from Prince Edward Island. Matthews has 3 sons and 6 grandchildren. In 2004, Matthews became a Canadian citizen.[13]

On October 31, 2008, he resigned from the Argonauts a day after the conclusion of the Argonauts 2008 regular season, which saw the Argos fail to win a game in the eight games under his leadership and finishing out of the playoffs for the first time since the 2001 CFL season.[14]

Matthews resides in Oregon[1] and was selected for induction in the Builder category into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame on February 10, 2011.[15]

On November 5, 2012, Matthews announced he was battling cancer and therefore would not be able to participate in any of the festivities for the 100th Grey Cup in Toronto.[16]

Coaching records Edit

Don Matthews currently holds several coaching records:

  • Most Grey Cup appearances (9 - tied)
  • Most Grey Cup wins (5 – tied)

He also has an additional 5 Grey Cup titles as defensive co-ordinator of the Edmonton Eskimos.

CFL Head Coaching recordEdit

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
WonLostTiesWin %Finish Won Lost Result
BC1983 1150.6881st in West Division 1 1 Lost in Grey Cup
BC1984 1231.8001st in West Division 0 1 Lost in Division Finals
BC1985 1330.8131st in West Division 2 0 Won Grey Cup
BC1986 1260.6672nd in West Division 1 1 Lost in Division Finals
BC1987 860.5731st in West Division (fired)
TOR1990 1080.5562nd in East Division 1 1 Lost in Division Finals
SSK1991 560.4554th in West Division Missed Playoffs
SSK1992 990.5003rd in West Division 0 1 Lost in Division Semi-Finals
SSK1993 1170.6113rd in West Division 0 1 Lost in Division Semi-Finals
BAL1994 1260.6672nd in East Division 2 1 Lost in Grey Cup
BAL1995 1530.8331st in East Division 3 0 Won Grey Cup
TOR1996 1530.8331st in East Division 2 0 Won Grey Cup
TOR1997 1530.8331st in East Division 2 0 Won Grey Cup
TOR1998 990.5003rd in East Division 0 1 Lost in Division Semi-Finals
EDM1999 6120.3333rd in East Division 0 1 Lost in Division Semi-Finals
EDM2000 1080.5562nd in East Division 0 1 Lost in Division Semi-Finals
MTL2002 1350.7221st in East Division 2 0 Won Grey Cup
MTL2003 1350.7221st in East Division 1 1 Lost in Grey Cup
MTL2004 1440.7781st in East Division 0 1 Lost in Division Finals
MTL2005 1080.5562nd in East Division 2 1 Lost in Grey Cup
MTL2006 860.5711st in East Division (stepped down)
TOR2008 080.0003rd in East Division missed playoffs
BC1983–1987 56231.7004 West Division
43 1 Grey Cup
TOR1990, 1996–
1998, 2008
49310.6132 East Division
52 2 Grey Cups
SSK1991–1993 25220.5320 West Division
02 0 Grey Cups
BAL1994–1995 2790.7501 East Division
51 1 Grey Cup
EDM1999–2000 16200.4440 West Division
02 0 Grey Cups
MTL2002–2006 58280.6744 East Division
52 1 Grey Cup
Total 2311331.63311 Division
1913 5 Grey Cups

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Portland Tribune - A new game plan for famed coach - 2010-02-11
  2. "Vandal babe standouts". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1961. p. 154.
  3. "Football". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1964. p. 255.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Go - lifetime achievement - Don Matthews - accessed 2011-10-22
  5. Lawton, James (January 15, 1983). "Matthews has travelled a long, tough highway". Vancouver Sun: p. E1.
  6. "Football". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1965. p. 252.
  7. Spokane Daily Chronicle - Ferris coach takes post as aide with Vandals - 1971-01-29 p.15
  8. "Als coach Matthews resigns". CBC Sports. 2006-10-04. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
  9. Brennan, Don (2008-09-12). "Hunt: Matthews inspired by Kilrea". Ottawa Sun. Retrieved September 12, 2008.
  10. "Argos fire Stubler, bring back Matthews". CBC Sports. 2008-09-09. Retrieved 2008-09-09.
  12. O’Connor, Joe (2008-10-29). "Argos' Matthews winning battle with anxiety". National Post (Canada). Retrieved 2008-10-31.
  13. "Alouettes hammer Renegades at the Big O". CBC News. 2004-10-23.
  14. "Matthews quits as Argos coach". CBC Sports. 2008-10-31. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
  15. "Canadian Football Hall of Fame announces Class of 2011," Canadian Football Hall of Fame & Museum, Thursday, February 10, 2011.
  16. "Don Matthews battling cancer". Calgary Sun. Retrieved 2012-11-06.

External links Edit

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