MIKE ARCHER – Defensive Coordinator

Mike Archer enters his second season with Toronto after being named Defensive Coordinator in the offseason. Archer came to the Argos last season as Linebackers Coach, his first coaching stint in the CFL. The former Miami Hurricane player brings 40 years of coaching experience in the NCAA and NFL to the Double Blue.

Archer recent served his second tenure at the University of Virginia as the Cavaliers Associate Head Coach / Linebackers Coach (2015) and Safeties Coach (2014). Under his watch, Virgina produced the best safety duo in Quin Blanding, named Freshman All-American and ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, who was ranked second in the ACC and lead the nation’s freshmen in tackles (123) and Anthony Harris who was ranked sixth with 108 in 2014. In 2015 Archer saw a first-time starter in Micah Kiser (earn first-team All-ACC honors as a sophomore after finishing the regular season No. 1 in the ACC with 117 tackles.

Prior to his return to Charlottesville, Archer was the defensive coordinator for six seasons at NC State from 2007 to 2012. He served under former NC State head coach Tom O’Brien. Archer and O’Brien previously worked together at Virginia during the 1991 and 1992 seasons before O’Brien became the head coach at Boston College.
At NC State, Archer oversaw a defensive unit that picked off a school record 27 interceptions in 2011. The interception mark led the nation and tied as the second-best effort in ACC history. Archer’s 2010 NC State defense held two opponents to negative yardage in rushing and ranked second in the league in rush defense. The Pack was also second in the ACC in sacks. The 2008 Wolfpack defense forced 28 turnovers, 20th in the NCAA. That mark included 17 interceptions which ranked 13th nationally. The 2007 Wolfpack defense ranked 25th nationally in passing efficiency defense.

Prior to his time at NC State, Archer spent seven seasons at Kentucky with a seven-year stint as the linebackers coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers breaking up his tenure with the Wildcats. Archer started at Kentucky in 1993 as the defensive coordinator and linebacker coach. In 1995 he was elevated to assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. In 1996 he left for the Steelers where he stayed through the 2002 season, helping Pittsburgh to four divisional championships. From 2003-06 Archer returned to Kentucky to be its defensive coordinator.

Kentucky’s 2006 defense forced 28 turnovers, as the Wildcats ranked fifth nationally in turnover margin.

While with the Steelers, Archer coached a pair of two-time Pro Bowl selections (Jason Gildon, Levon Kirkland) and two other Pro Bowl selections (Joey Porter and Kendrell Bell). Kendrell Bell was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2001. Archer assisted a Steeler defense that led the NFL in rushing defense in 2002.

In 1987, at 34 years of age, Archer became the youngest Division I FBS head coach when he succeeded Bill Arnsparger at LSU. Archer came to LSU as the defensive backs coach in 1984 and was elevated to defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach for the 1985 and 1986 seasons. When Arsnparger left his post to become the athletics director, he handpicked Archer as his successor. In his three seasons as an LSU assistant, the Tigers posted a 26-8-2 mark and played in three bowl games.

Archer’s first LSU team finished the season ranked No. 5 in both major polls with a 10-1-1 record, losing only to Alabama and tying Ohio State. It was LSU’s first 10-win season in more than 25 years. Archer’s Tigers followed up with an 8-4 record and a Southeastern Conference title in 1988. Archer posted a 27-18-1 head coaching record at LSU from 1987-90.

A 1976 graduate of Miami (Fla.), Archer started his coaching career with the Hurricanes in 1976 as a graduate assistant. In 1978 he was elevated to a full-time assistant coach. From 1979-83 Archer served as the defensive backs coach on Howard Schnellenberger’s Miami teams, including the 1983 national championship squad.

Archer was a defensive back and punter at Miami from 1973-75. The State College, Pa., native earned a masters of education from Miami in 1978.

Coaching Career


2018                Toronto Argonauts, Defensive Coordinator

2017                Toronto Argonauts, Linebackers Coach

2015                University of Virginia, Associate Head Coach/ Linebackers Coach

2014                University of Virginia, Safeties Coach

2007-12           NC State, Defensive Coordinator

2003-04           University of Kentucky, Defensive Coordinator

1996-02           Pittsburgh Steelers, Linebackers Coach

1995                University of Kentucky, Assistant Head Coach, Defensive Coordinator & Linebackers Coach

1993-94           University of Virginia, Defensive Coordinator
1991-92           University of Virginia, Linebackers Coach
1987-90           LSU, Head Coach
1985-86           LSU, Defensive Coordinator / Defensive Backs
1984                LSU, Defensive Backs Coach
1979-83           University of Miami, Defensive Backs Coach
1978                University of Miami, Administrative Assistant
1976-77           University of Miami, Graduate Assistant