Jacques Chapdelaine named new head coach for Simon Fraser football team

Jacques Chapdelaine, Simon Fraser, SFU, SFU Football, Vancouver, Burnaby
Jacques Chapdelaine, Simon Fraser, SFU, SFU Football, Vancouver, Burnaby

There was some big news out of the Burnaby campus of the Simon Fraser University Clan on Tuesday, as former Lions offensive coordinator Jacques Chapdelaine was named as the university's football head coach.

The Clan, which compete in the NCAA in the GNAC Division, have quietly been making waves over the past couple of years, progressing through the NCAA ranks.

In 2013, under former head coach Dave Johnson, the Clan struggled despite winning their first two games of the season. They finished with a 3-7 record that included a dismal 1-4 showing at home. Johnson was fired in November.

Now Chapdelaine will look to replicate the same success he has inspired in previous roles which include three Grey Cups and one Vanier Cup as a head coach.

"This is something i've been looking for, I want to make the most of it here," Chapedelaine said. "I look forward to getting started."

The adjustment for Chapdelaine will be in adjusting to the U.S. rules and systems. But he's a true student of the game and immediately gives the Clan a prominent face which will help them in fund-raising, recruiting and, likely, on the field.

This past season, Chapdelaine patrolled the sidelines as offensive coordinator with the BC Lions from 2008-13, before parting ways with the organization in November 2013.

Prior to working with the Lions, he coached in assistant, coordinator and positional roles with the Edmonton Eskimos (2007), a first stint with the Lions (2003-06) and Calgary Stampeders (2001-2002).

Chapdelaine has been on the coaching staff on three Grey Cup Championship teams, with the Calgary Stampeders in 2001, followed by the BC Lions in 2006 and 2011.

Perhaps more importantly, he's a former student-athlete, playing football for the Clan, and has coaching experience at the collegiate level. Prior to joining the Stampeders, Chapdelaine served as the head coach of the Laval Rouge et Or from 1997-2000, guiding the program to their first Vanier Cup Championship less than five years after the program's inception.

Chapdelaine began his coaching career at Bishop's University in Quebec, beginning in 1990 as the school's offensive coordinator. He also held several administrative roles during his time at Bishop's.

He is a Clan alumnus who played for the SFU in the 1980s before moving on to a seven-year career in the Canadian Football League where he starred as a slotback playing with the BC Lions, Montreal Concordes/Alouettes, Hamilton Tiger Cats and Calgary Stampeders.

Chapdelaine is expected to announce his coaching staff in the upcoming weeks as the program turns its attention to spring camp.

The position received a lot of interest with about 150 applicants from throughout North America, many of high quality according to SFU senior athletic director Milt Richards.

"We wanted someone with college head coaching experience, someone from the CFL is a bonus," Richards said. "But the thing that really stood out for me is that coach Chapdelaine really wanted to be here. He met his wife Kim here, played his football here and he just really, really wanted to be here."