Jim Popp – General Manager
February 28, 2017 was a very good day for the Toronto Argonauts. On that day it was announced that Jim Popp had joined the organization as the 19th General Manager in Argos history.
Despite getting a ridiculously late start on things, Popp assembled a staff and roster that would lead to a Grey Cup championship just nine months later.
Popp came to Toronto after one of the most successful tenures in CFL history. As the GM and Vice President of Football Operations in Montreal, his Alouette teams finished 240-155-1, combining regular season and playoff games. He’d be the only GM in league history to put together seven consecutive seasons of12 or more wins.
In an 11-season stretch between 2000 and 2010, Popp’s teams reached the Grey Cup game a remarkable eight times, winning the trophy in 2002, 2009 and 2010.
His time in Montreal followed two seasons in Baltimore, where he put together a team that went to the Grey Cup as an expansion team in 1994, before winning it a year later. The ’95 Stallions were 15-3 in the regular season, then defeated Winnipeg, San Antonio and Calgary in the playoffs to become the first, and still only team to win 18 games in a season.
Popp has led his teams to eleven Grey Cup games, more than any other GM in CFL history, winning five.
A recipient of the Sports Media Canada Executive of the Year, Popp entered the 2019 season with 287 wins as a General Manager (regular season and playoffs), trailing only Wally Buono on the CFL all-time list.
Popp started his CFL career in 1992 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders as their Receivers Coach and Director of Player Personnel before heading to Baltimore.
After his playing days at Michigan State concluded, his coaching career began at the age of 21 as a student coach, working with the Spartans receivers and defensive backs. He then spent a year at the University of North Carolina coaching quarterbacks and running backs, before a three-year run as an assistant at The Citadel under Head Coach Charlie Taaffe.
He’d spend one year as an assistant to Roman Gabriel in the WLAF/NFL Europe with the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks before getting his feet wet on the managerial side of the sport in 1991-92 as the League Director of Player Personnel for the Professional Spring Football League.
Then it was off to Canada.
Not limited to a front-office role, Popp was the Alouettes interim Head Coach on five separate occasions between 2001 and 2016, he also held that position full-time for the entire 2007 campaign. As Head Coach, he led the Als to a Grey Cup appearance in 2006.
Popp was born in Elkin, North Carolina. He and his wife Kimberly are proud parents of six Canadian-born children. Popp gives much of the credit for his success to his father Joe, a former NFL and college coach. Both father and son are members of the Mooresville High School Hall of Fame. The North Carolina school plays its home games at Coach Joe Popp Stadium.
2017-present: Toronto Argonauts, General Manager
1996-2016: Montreal Alouettes, VP Football Operations and General Manager
1994-95: Baltimore Stallions, General Manager and Director, Player Personnel
1992-93: Saskatchewan Roughriders, Wide Receivers Coach and Director, Player Personnel
1991-92: Professional Spring Football League, League Director of Player Personnel
1991: Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks. WLAF/NFL Europe, Receivers, Special Teams and Strength and Conditioning Coach.
1988-90: The Citadel, Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, Running Backs Coach
1987: University of North Carolina, Graduate Coach, Running Backs and Quarterbacks
1986: Michigan State University, Student Coach, Wide Receivers and Defensive Backs