The Canadian Football League (CFL) announced today that Michael Clemons, Tom Higgins and Danny Maciocia have been selected as finalists for the 2005 Coach of the Year award. Also announced today, CFL MOP Damon Allen and his brother, NFL Hall-of-Famer Marcus Allen will be the keynote speakers at the 2005 Coach of the Year Luncheon, in celebration of this yearâ€™s outstanding CFL head coaches and in support of â€˜Stop the Violenceâ€™ â€“ The Argos Foundation.
Selected by 51 voting members of the Football Reporters of Canada, the CFL Coach of the Year award recognizes the commitment and efforts of head coaches across the League, with special honours going to a coach who most demonstrates exceptional leadership, discipline and dedication to excellence. The winner of the award, the Annis Stukus Trophy, will be announced during the luncheon in Toronto on February 23rd, 2006.
The Allen brothers will be joined by their father, Harold Allen Sr., at the luncheon to address the important role that leadership and mentorship play in the lives of todayâ€™s youth. Their father helped mold them into the people they are today, much like CFL coaches help shape the players on their teams. Leadership and mentorship are also an integral part of â€˜Stop the Violenceâ€™ â€“ The Argos Foundation, an initiative launched by the Toronto Argonauts in August 2005 aimed at addressing issues of violent and gun-related crimes through increased awareness. Working with community and business leaders, Stop the Violence, continues to raise funds to support existing community programs and new initiatives in this ongoing effort.
On the 2005 Coach of the Year Finalists (listed in alphabetical order):
In 2005, Michael 'Pinball' Clemons led the Toronto Argonauts to an 11-7 record, their first Division title since 1997 and their fourth-straight playoff appearance. Under his leadership, veteran quarterback Damon Allen was honoured as the CFLâ€™s Most Outstanding Player. This is Clemons' fourth Coach of the Year Finalist nomination in as many years.
In his first season as head coach of the Calgary Stampeders, Tom Higgins guided the Stamps to a dramatic improvement from the 2004 season when they finished 4-14. In 2005, Calgary finished the campaign with an 11-7 record, second in the West Division. Higgins led the Stampeders to their first home playoff game since 2001 and their first winning record since 2000.
In his first year as a head coach, Danny Maciocia led the Edmonton Eskimos to an 11-7 record. Success continued in the post-season as the Esks defeated both the Stamps and Lions on the road. Maciociaâ€™s first season as head coach was captivated by a double OT 38-35 Grey Cup triumph over the Montreal Alouettes, marking the sixth time a rookie head coach has won the Grey Cup since 1950. Maciocia became the first Quebec-born head coach to win the CFLâ€™s championship.