Longtime CFL coach Don Matthews has died at the age of 77.
Matthews was the head coach of six teams in the CFL including the Saskatchewan Roughriders from 1991-93. In his 22 years as a head coach, he won 231 games which puts him just behind current BC Lions coach Wally Buono as the all-time winningest head coach in league history. He also have 5 Grey Cup wins as a head coach which ties him for the most and nine appearances. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
Jim Lawson, the Chair of the CFL’s Board of Governors, made a statement Wednesday afternoon following the passing of Matthews.
“Upon hearing of the passing of Don Matthews, the Canadian Football League family is both deeply saddened by this loss and grateful for his many contributions to our league. The Don, as he was known, was one of a kind. He was a leader for so many of our greatest players and teams. He was a mentor to many of our current coaches. He was a charismatic star that loved to spar with the media at the same time he commanded the spotlight. The record book is filled with his accomplishments. He won five Grey Cups as a head coach, with Toronto (2), Montreal, Baltimore and British Columbia. That ties him for the most ever, with three other legends (Wally Buono, Frank Clair and Hugh Campbell). He was a head coach in nine Grey Cups in total, tying him for the most ever. He won five more Grey Cup rings as a defensive coordinator, all with Edmonton. He won 231 regular season games as a head coach, which made him the winningest coach in CFL history until his total was eclipsed just a few years ago. His defences and his teams inevitably took on his persona: they were bold, brash, confident. And like him, they were winners. A Canadian Football Hall of Famer, Don Matthews had style and swagger and a passion for life as well as football, and the CFL was more colourful, more compelling and simply better because he was part of it. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, all those who knew him and loved him, and the countless fans who will long remember him.”