Jim Popp’s 25-year relationship with the Canadian Football League started right here, in Saskatchewan, when Don Matthews and Al Ford hired him as a Roughriders assistant coach.
They quickly moved him into the personnel department, perhaps realizing something that since became obvious – he’s not a very good coach. But he knew how to find good football players. He spent two seasons in Baltimore as the CFL team’s personnel director, winning his first Grey Cup in 1994.
When the Stallions relocated to Montreal, Popp went along as the general manager, a role he held until yesterday, when the team announced a “mutual decision” ended his tenure as the Alouettes only general manager.
The Alouettes appeared in eight Grey Cups and won three times under Popp. Four times Popp took over coaching duties with the Alouettes, compiling a 22-36 record as the head coach and never winning a Cup. Jacques Chapdelaine replaced Popp as Montreal’s head coach midway through this season, when the team had a 3-6 record.
That was his downfall. If Popp had concentrated only on his personnel duties, his long and glorious tenure in the CFL would still be continuing.