Don Matthews

Class of 2011

Matthews served three years in the US Marine Corps before joining the University of Idaho Vandals football team. After graduating he moved into the coaching ranks as an assistant with Idaho and then held high school coaching positions in Nevada, Washington, and Portland.

He started his professional coaching career as a linebacker coach with the Edmonton Eskimos in 1977 and became the defensive coordinator the following season in 1978. He helped coach the Edmonton Eskimos to five consecutive Grey Cup titles from 1978 through to 1982.

In 1983, Matthews became head coach for the BC Lions. He coached the Lions to their first Grey Cup appearance in 19 years that season. In 1985, he coached the team to a Grey Cup victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and earned his first Coach of the Year honour. In the five seasons Matthews was in BC, the Lions finished first in the West four times.

In 1994, Matthews was named head coach of the US expansion team, the Baltimore Stallions. He coached the Stallions to a Grey Cup appearance in 1994 and a Grey Cup victory in 1995. That same season he became the sixth CFL head coach to record 100 regular season wins.

When the Stallions re-located to Montreal in 1996, Matthews became head coach of the Toronto Argonauts. He coached the Argonauts to back-to-back Grey Cup victories in 1996 and 1997. In 1997, Matthews broke Frank Clair’s record for most regular season coaching wins with 147 wins. That same season he won his fourth Coach of the Year Award.

Matthews became head coach of the Montreal Alouettes in 2002 and coached the team to a Grey Cup victory that season and won Coach of the Year for the fifth time. He coached the Alouettes to Grey Cup appearances in 2003 and 2005.

Don Matthews coached a total of 22 season and 365 games in the CFL. At the time of his retirement, he was the most winningest Coach in CFL history with 231 wins, 133 losses, and 1 tie as well as holding the record for most Grey Cup wins – head coach with 5 and most Grey Cup appearances by a head coach with 9.


BC Lions Coach
1983 - 1987
Toronto Argonauts Coach
1990, 1996 - 1998, 2008
Saskatchewan Roughriders Coach
1991 - 1993
Baltimore Stallions Coach
1994, 1995
Edmonton Eskimos Coach
1999, 2000
Montreal Alouettes Coach
2002 - 2006


  • Annis Stukus Coach of the Year Award
    1985, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2002
  • Grey Cup Participation as a Head Coach
    1983, 1985, 1994 – 1997, 2002, 2003, 2005
  • Grey Cup Winning Teams as a Head Coach
    1985, 1995 – 1997, 2002