Born in Massachusetts, Matthews is the longest serving and most decorated head coach in CFL history. He holds league head coaching records for most games coached (357), most wins (231), most seasons (21), most playoff seasons (18), most Grey Cup appearances (9) and is tied for most Grey Cup wins (5). He is also the only coach in CFL history to win the Grey Cup in four different decades.
The winningest coach in CFL history returns to Toronto where he won two Grey Cup championships in 1996 and 1997 and led the Argos to one of the most explosive offensive seasons in club history in 1990; the Argos scored a club record 689 points.
Don Matthews has coached just 72 games for the Double Blue (1990, 1996-1998) and, entering 2008 with an overall record of 49-23-0, is fourth in team history for most wins by a head coach boasting a .681 winning percentage. Matthews led teams in 1996 and 1997 not only won consecutive championships, but also set single-season franchise records for most wins with15. The top three offensive seasons (total yards of net offence) in club history were all led by Matthews (7665 yards in 1996, 7498 yards in 1990, 7479 yards in 1997) and on October 30, 1990, Matthews’ Argos scored a club record 10 touchdowns against the Calgary Stampeders. Don’s Argo teams also hold the longest and second longest winning streaks in club history (10 games in 1997 and 9 games in 1996).
Matthews has missed the playoffs once, in 1991 when he took over the 1-6-0 Saskatchewan Roughriders, and has been head coach of the B.C. Lions, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Baltimore Stallions, Edmonton Eskimos and Montreal Alouettes. He spent one season as head coach of the Orlando Thunder of the World League of American Football in 1991. Matthews joined the CFL as the Edmonton Eskimos’ Linebackers coach in 1977, and promptly won five straight Grey Cup championships as a Defensive Coordinator during the storied Edmonton Eskimos dynasty from 1978-1982.
Matthews served three years in the U.S. Marine Corps before joining the University of Idaho football squad as a walk-on. By his senior season he was team captain and lined up with two other CFL legends: Jerry ‘Soupy’ Campbell and Argos’ current Offensive Coordinator Steve Buratto. He moved into coaching as graduate assistant with Idaho and later held high school positions in Nevada and Washington. He returned to Idaho in 1970 as the School’s Offensive Coordinator before taking the head coaching job at Sunset H.S. where he led the school to consecutive state titles.
Don has always been active off the field too, donating his time to various charities. During his time in Saskatchewan and Baltimore, for instance, he helped raise funds for school ‘Hot Lunch’ programs. Don has three sons and has a Rottweiler named B.J. (short for Black Jack). His mother Ida was a francophone originally from Tracadie, N.B. and his father, Fred, was from Prince Edward Island. Don has spent his time away from football in Oregon with his family.
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