James Popp (born December 21, 1964) is a Canadian football coach and administrator, who was most recently the general manager of the Toronto Argonauts football club of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He had previously coached and served as GM of the Montreal Alouettes. Popp has won five Grey Cups (1995 with the Baltimore Stallions; 2002, 2009, 2010 with the Montreal Alouettes; 2017 with the Toronto Argonauts) and his teams have appeared in 11 Grey Cups. He has also been the head coach of the Alouettes on four different occasions.
Popp before a Toronto Argonauts game in 2019.
|Born:||December 21, 1964|
Elkin, North Carolina
|College||Michigan State University|
|High school||Mooresville High School, Mooresville, North Carolina|
|1992–1993||Saskatchewan Roughriders (Director of Player Personnel)|
|1994–1995||Baltimore Stallions (GM/Director of Player Personnel)|
|1996–2016||Montreal Alouettes (VP, GM, Dir. of FB Opts, Dir. of Player Personnel)|
|2017–2019||Toronto Argonauts (GM)|
|1986||Michigan State (Assistant coach)|
|1987||North Carolina (Assistant coach)|
|1988–1990||The Citadel (Assistant coach)|
|1992–1993||Saskatchewan Roughriders (Wide receivers coach)|
|2001||Montreal Alouettes (HC)|
|2006–2007||Montreal Alouettes (HC)|
|2013||Montreal Alouettes (HC)|
|2015–2016||Montreal Alouettes (HC)|
|1983–1985||Michigan State University|
|Career highlights and awards|
Inducted into Sports Hall-of-Fame, 2011 Sports Executive-of-the-Year, 5 Grey Cup Championships,
|Awards||2011 Sports Executive of the Year|
|Honours||5x Grey Cup champion – (1995, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2017), 11 Grey Cup appearances|
Popp was named general manager and director of player personnel of the CFL's Baltimore Stallions in 1994. After two Grey Cup appearances (including one championship), the team was forced out of Baltimore when the NFL started the Baltimore Ravens. Stallions owner Jim Speros decided to relocate his team to Montreal as the second incarnation of the Alouettes. Popp stayed on as general manager, but found himself having to rebuild the team from almost nothing. While the Alouettes were allowed to reclaim the legacy of the original 1946-86 Alouettes, they were not allowed to keep their history as the Stallions. However, while all of the Stallions players were released from their contracts, Popp re-signed most of the key players from that team.
The Alouettes have been in eight Grey Cup Championships during Popp's tenure (2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010), capturing the title three times (2002, 2009 and 2010).
During the 2001 season, Popp took over the team after he and owner Robert Wetenhall fired Rod Rust in the midst of a long losing streak. On October 4, 2006, following the resignation of Don Matthews due to health reasons, Popp again took over as head coach and led the Alouettes to an appearance in the 2006 Grey Cup. Popp continued leading the Alouettes during the 2007 season as well, a rebuilding year which saw the team play with 23 rookies and without their starting quarterback for half the season. Following the 2007 season, Popp decided to step away from the coaching ranks when he hired former NFL coach Marc Trestman as the new head coach of the Alouettes. On August 1, 2013, Popp returned to the sideline after the firing of new head coach Dan Hawkins and was interim head coach for the remainder of the 2013 season. For 2014, Tom Higgins was hired as the Alouettes' head coach and Popp returned to general manager duties full-time. On August 21, 2015, Alouettes ownership relieved Tom Higgins of his coaching duties and brought general manager Popp to the bench for the fourth time. Jim Popp continued on as the head coach for the 2016 CFL season. The first 13 weeks of the season proved to be very tumultuous for the Al's both on the field and in the locker room. Jim Popp only managed to coach Montreal to victories in 3 of first 12 games before relinquishing his responsibilities as head coach to Jacques Chapdelaine who had been serving as a wide receivers coach and special assistant to the offensive coordinator.
Front office executiveEdit
Under Popp's guidance, his teams have reached the playoffs for 20 consecutive seasons, advancing to the Divisional Championship game 15 times. Popp's teams have appeared in 10 Grey Cup championship games, winning the Grey Cup four times. In January 2012, Popp was a finalist for the vacant Indianapolis Colts General Manager position. On November 7, 2016, Popp was relieved of his duties as the General Manager of the Montreal Alouettes.
Popp was hired as the General Manager of the Toronto Argonauts on February 28, 2017, succeeding Jim Barker. Popp was successful in convincing the Argonauts ownership in hiring Marc Trestman as the team's head coach. Popp and Trestman had won consecutive Grey Cups together in 2009 and 2010. Despite being hired later during the free agency period, Popp was able to sign former Montreal Alouettes players Bear Woods, Jeff Perrett and S. J. Green. Popp was initially criticized for the moves by the Toronto media, as some felt he was turning the Argonauts into another version of the Alouettes.
Popp's first season in Toronto went above expectations, given the circumstances. The team finished the season at 9-9, which was good enough for first place in the East and a first-round bye in the playoffs. Under his leadership, the Argos defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Eastern Final, and the Calgary Stampeders in the 105th Grey Cup CFL final.
Popp's second season in Toronto was far less impressive. The team nosedived from winning the Grey Cup a year earlier to finishing the season at 4-14, with an 0-9 record on the road. The team struggled to find consistency at the quarterback position following a season-ending injury to Ricky Ray. Popp traded for James Franklin from the Edmonton Eskimos in the off-season, with the hopes of him being the successor to Ray. Franklin struggled to find his footing and would be replaced by McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who would also struggle at the helm. The team's on-field performance and nosedive in the standings prompted Popp to fire Trestman at the end of the season. The following season, 2019, was more of the same as the Argos struggled on both sides of the ball, scoring on average 18.8 points while conceding 34.5 points. The team was thoroughly embarrassed in their first match of the season losing 64-14 against their bitter rivals the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and again in Week 17 losing 55-8 against the BC Lions, after which Jim Popp was subsequently relieved of his duties on October 8th, 2019.
The 2009 and 2010 Alouettes back-to-back Grey Cup championships were the first back-to-back CFL titles in 13 years. Popp's teams have been some of the most successful in CFL history.
- The only team to ever win 18 games in a CFL season (Baltimore Stallions – including the final 13 in a row)
- One of three teams in CFL history to have ever won 12 or more games in six consecutive seasons.
- Popp is the only General Manager to have won 12 or more games in seven consecutive seasons.
Popp and his wife Kimberly have six children and reside in Mooresville, North Carolina and North York, Ontario (during CFL season). Popp credits much of his success on the field to his family, especially his father Joe, a former NFL and college coach. Jim and his father share the privilege of being members of the Mooresville (NC) High School Hall of Fame, whose football stadium is named in Joe's honor (Coach Joe Popp Stadium).
Popp was named 2011 Sports Executive of the Year by Sports Media Canada.
|Team||Year||Regular Season||Post Season|
|BAL||1994||12||6||0||2nd in East Division||2||1||Lost in 82nd Grey Cup|
|BAL||1995||15||3||0||1st in South Division||3||0||Won 83rd Grey Cup|
|MTL||1996||12||6||0||3rd in East Division||1||1||Lost in East Final|
|MTL||1997||13||5||0||3rd in East Division||1||1||Lost in East Final|
|MTL||1998||12||5||1||2nd in East Division||1||1||Lost in East Final|
|MTL||1999||12||6||0||1st in East Division||1||1||Lost in East Final|
|MTL||2000||12||6||0||1st in East Division||2||1||Lost in 88th Grey Cup|
|MTL||2001||9||9||0||3rd in East Division||0||1||Lost in East Semi-Final|
|MTL||2002||13||5||0||1st in East Division||2||0||Won 90th Grey Cup|
|MTL||2003||13||5||0||1st in East Division||2||1||Lost in 91st Grey Cup|
|MTL||2004||14||4||0||1st in East Division||1||1||Lost in East Final|
|MTL||2005||10||8||0||2nd in East Division||2||1||Lost in 93rd Grey Cup|
|MTL||2006||10||8||0||1st in East Division||1||1||Lost in 94th Grey Cup|
|MTL||2007||8||10||0||3rd in East Division||0||1||Lost in East Semi-Final|
|MTL||2008||11||7||0||1st in East Division||1||1||Lost in 96th Grey Cup|
|MTL||2009||15||3||0||1st in East Division||2||0||Won 97th Grey Cup|
|MTL||2010||12||6||0||1st in East Division||2||0||Won 98th Grey Cup|
|MTL||2011||10||8||0||2nd in East Division||0||1||Lost in East Semi-Final|
|MTL||2012||11||7||0||1st in East Division||0||1||Lost in East Final|
|MTL||2013||8||10||0||3rd in East Division||0||1||Lost in East Semi-Final|
|MTL||2014||9||9||0||2nd in East Division||1||1||Lost in East Final|
|MTL||2015||6||12||0||4th in East Division||-||-||Missed Playoffs|
|MTL||2016||7||11||0||3rd in East Division||-||-||Missed Playoffs|
|TOR||2017||9||9||0||1st in East Division||2||0||Won 105th Grey Cup|
|TOR||2018||4||14||0||4th in East Division||-||-||Missed Playoffs|
|27||17||5 Grey Cup Championships|
|Team||Year||Regular Season||Post Season|
|MTL||2001||0||1||0||.000||3rd in East Division||0||1||Lost in Division Semi-Finals|
|MTL||2006||2||2||0||.500||1st in East Division||1||1||Lost in Grey Cup|
|MTL||2007||8||10||0||.444||3rd in East Division||0||1||Lost in Division Semi-Finals|
|MTL||2013||6||7||0||.461||3rd in East Division||0||1||Lost in Division Semi-Finals|
|MTL||2015||3||7||0||.300||4th in East Division||-||-||Did not qualify|
|Total||22||36||0||.379||1 East Division
|1||4||0 Grey Cups|
- "Alouettes fire Higgins as Head Coach; GM Popp to take over". TSN. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- "After long saga, Alouettes' Jim Popp out as HC, which may not solve their issues". Retrieved September 20, 2016.
- "Als' Popp relinquishes coaching duties; Chapdelaine named interim head coach". CFL.ca. September 19, 2016. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
- "Colts' Irsay intrigued by CFL's Popp; seven to interview for GM". NFL.com. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
- "2019-06-22 Game Tracker - Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. Toronto Argonauts (2567)". CFL.ca. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- "2019-10-05 Game Tracker - Toronto Argonauts vs. BC Lions (2625)". CFL.ca. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- Staff, TSN ca (October 8, 2019). "Toronto Argonauts release GM Jim Popp from his duties - TSN.ca". TSN. Retrieved October 8, 2019.