Since everyone has been wondering whatever happened to Don Mathews. This story in the Globe this morning:
CFL Matthews resurfaces as adviser in Ottawa
DAVID NAYLOR When Don Matthews stopped coaching the Montreal Alouettes on Oct.
4, 2006, it was almost as if the CFL coaching legend vanished.
And since that day when Alouettes players arrived at practice to learn their coach had resigned without warning, Matthews has been completely out of sight from the football world at his home in Oregon.
But on May 16 in Ottawa, Matthews will make his first public appearance in 19 months when he attends a luncheon organized by Jeff Hunt, the local entrepreneur who heads up the city’s expansion ownership group.
Such an occasion, with Alouettes president Larry Smith as the guest speaker, might seem an odd way for Matthews to end his exile.
But it turns out he and Hunt have been spending a lot of time together on the telephone since the CFL granted Ottawa a conditional expansion franchise in March.
“As we’ve been going through this process, I have found it necessary to have people to call upon for advice and guidance,” Hunt said.
“A mutual friend hooked me up with Don and we had a couple of conversations which I found very helpful and in the process we started up a bit of a friendship. When he heard about the event I was having with the Montreal Alouettes and Larry Smith, he offered to come up to lend his support to the Ottawa initiative to come back to the CFL and the Alouettes hosting this year’s Grey Cup.” Matthews, who will turn 69 in June, was long known as the CFL’s top hired gun, coaching six teams in eight stops as he racked up more wins than any coach in CFL history.
Hunt already employs one Canadian sports legend, Ottawa 67’s head coach Brian Kilrea, the junior hockey coach with the most career wins. The question that’s sure to surface now is whether Hunt might have room for another legend somewhere within Ottawa’s reborn football organization.
“Right now, I would say he’s been very helpful giving our group advice from time to time,” Hunt said. “But to my knowledge, Don is retired for good, so I wouldn’t want to speculate on any further plans.” Though Ottawa’s new team is unlikely to play a game before the 2011 season, Hunt’s group has been busy researching the football side of its business as it waits for the city to come to a decision over the rebuilding of Frank Clair Stadium, the lone condition before the franchise can come into being.
But Hunt already seems to be taking advice from a good source, given Matthews’s record, which includes five Grey Cup wins as a head coach and five more when he was the defensive co-ordinator with the Edmonton Eskimos.
Matthews coached Montreal from 2002 until midway through the 2006 season, taking the club to three Grey Cup appearances and one victory before stepping away for what the club said were health concerns.
Matthews, however, has never publicly addressed the reasons for his resignation.
Last summer, he visited Montreal at the home of Alouettes owner Bob Wetenhall and continues to stay in touch with some members of the Alouettes’ organization.