CFL

Alouettes fire head coach, defensive co-ordinator following slow start to season

Danny Maciocia is returning to the CFL sidelines. The Montreal Alouettes GM assumed interim head-coaching duties with the CFL club Wednesday after the club fired head coach Khari Jones and defensive co-ordinator Barron Miles.

Montreal GM Maciocia to be interim head coach; Thorpe to take over on defence

Khari Jones, centre, shown in 2021, will no longer be the head coach of the Montreal Alouettes as the team announced his firing on Wednesday along with defensive co-ordinator and defensive backs coach Barron Miles. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Danny Maciocia is returning to the CFL sidelines.

The Montreal Alouettes GM assumed interim head-coaching duties with the CFL club Wednesday after the club fired head coach Khari Jones and defensive co-ordinator Barron Miles.

Noel Thorpe returns to the franchise as defensive co-ordinator and defensive backs coach.

Maciocia made the move with Montreal (1-3) on a bye week. The Alouettes return to action July 14 hosting the Edmonton Elks.

In a statement, the Alouettes said Maciocia will serve as head coach until the end of the '22 season.

"This kind of decision is always difficult to make, but we felt that we needed to make it early in the season while there is still time," Maciocia said. "We want to thank Khari Jones and Barron Miles for their work, and wish them the best in the future."

Maciocia's decision to let Jones go wasn't entirely a surprise. It was former Alouettes GM Kavis Reed who promoted Jones to head coach from offensive co-ordinator when the club abruptly announced just before the '19 season that Mike Sherman was longer the head man.

The amiable 51-year-old Jones posted an 18-18 regular-season record over two-plus seasons with the Alouettes, who'd reached the playoffs during Jones' first two years but were eliminated in the East semifinal.

Montreal finished third in the East Division last season with a 7-7 record before losing to Hamilton 23-12 in the opening round of the conference playoffs.

The Alouettes were 10-8 in 2019. It was the franchise's first winning campaign since 2012 and first playoff appearance since 2014 and secured Jones a three-year extension.

Maciocia, Thorpe's history with team

Maciocia was named Alouettes GM in 2020 but before that had served as the head coach of the Montreal Carabins from 2011-19, winning a Vanier Cup in 2014. Over nine seasons with the Carabins, Maciocia compiled a 57-16-0 record.

Maciocia also has CFL experience as a head coach with Edmonton (2005-08), winning a Grey Cup in '05. He also served as an assistant with Montreal (1997-2001) and Edmonton (2002-04).

Thorpe returns with the Alouettes for a third time. He began his CFL coaching career with Montreal in 2002, winning a Grey Cup with the Alouettes after spending six seasons with the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser.

Thorpe won a Vanier Cup with UBC in 1997.

Thorpe coached special teams and defensive backs with Montreal from 2002-07. He returned in 2013 as the club's defensive co-ordinator and assistant head coach, positions he held through 2017.

He also served as a defensive backs coach, special-teams co-ordinator and assistant head coach with Edmonton (2008-10) and also worked as a defensive co-ordinator with the Ottawa Redblacks (2018-19).

Thorpe has a history with Maciocia. The two worked together in Edmonton in 2010 as well as the Carabins in 2011-12 when he served as the university team's special-teams co-ordinator.

Thorpe also spent the '21 season as Edmonton's defensive co-ordinator. But after the team hired Chris Jones as head coach/GM, the franchise announced Thorpe would not be retained.

Thorpe, a Vancouver native, rejoins the Alouettes after helping the Birmingham Stallions win the USFL championship.

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