February 6, 2013 - Canadian Football League (CFL)
TORONTO -- The Canadian Football League announced today the finalists for the 2012 CFL Coach of the Year Award. As voted by 45 members of the Football Reporters of Canada, the finalists are BC Lions head coach Mike Benevides, Calgary Stampeders head coach and general manager John Hufnagel and Toronto Argonauts head coach Scott Milanovich.
The 2012 CFL Coach of the Year will be presented the Annis Stukus trophy on February 28, 2013 in Regina, Saskatchewan as part of the CFL's annual Congress.
"Last season was filled with exciting games and amazing performances by our players - and these coaches played a major role in that," said CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon. "Congratulations to this year's finalists on this well deserved honour and good luck."
Mike Benevides - BC Lions
In his first season as head coach, Benevides led the BC Lions to a first place finish in the West Division with a 13-5 record. His 13 wins tied the club record for most wins by a rookie head coach. The Lions finished the season leading the league in most defensive categories including points allowed (354), quarterback sacks (47) and yards allowed (5,304).
John Hufnagel - Calgary Stampeders
Despite losing his starting quarterback to injury in just the second game of the season, Hufnagel led the Stampeders to a 12-6 record, the second best mark in the league, and good enough for second place in the West Division. Under his leadership, backup quarterback Kevin Glenn had a career year and running back Jon Cornish became the first Canadian to lead the league in rushing since 1988, and broke Normie Kwong's 56 year old record of most rushing yards by a Canadian in a single season. The Stampeders won two playoff games, including the Western Division Final which was played in hostile BC Place Stadium, to reach the Grey Cup for the second time in five years.
This is Hufnagel's second nomination. He won the Coach of the Year award in 2008.
Scott Milanovich - Toronto Argonauts
Milanovich became the first rookie head coach to win the Grey Cup since 2005 when Danny Maciocia led the Edmonton Eskimos to a championship. After finishing in fourth place in 2011, Milanovich led the Argonauts to a 9-9 record and a second place finish in the East Division. They hosted a playoff game for the first time since 2007 and took full advantage by defeating the Eskimos in the Eastern Semi-Final. They then travelled to Montreal and beat the Alouettes 27-20 to earn a berth in the 100th Grey Cup in Toronto. The Argos took care of business, defeating the Stampeders 35-22 winning their first Grey Cup since 2004.
Additional Facts & Stats:
Mike Benevides: - Took over as the Lions head man from the longest-serving head coach in club history. The previous first-year man to follow the longest-tenured head coach was Don Matthews after Vic Rapp's six-year run ended in 1982.
- Became the first coach in Lions history to lead the club to a #1 ranking in both offence and defence in the same season.
- His 13 wins as a first-time head coach set a new club record and matched the all-time CFL record.
- His team allowed the fewest points per game by an Lions' club since 1985.
- Matched the club's all-time record with 8 home wins in one season. John Hufnagel:
- Has now led the Stampeders to two Grey Cup games in the last five years winning in 2008.
- Under Coach Hufnagel, Calgary's five-year winning record of .661 (59-30-1) is the best in the CFL over that span.
- He is the second coach in Stampeder history to lead the club to double digit win totals five straight times. The other was Wally Buono from 1990 to 2000.
- His career winning percentage of .661 is the fourth best in CFL history.
- Hufnagel has never been out of the playoffs as a head coach in his five-year run and he is now the senior head coach in the CFL with 90 games of experience plus another 9 post-season contests.
- Led the Argos to their first Grey Cup title since 2004.
- Joined Mike Clemons as only the second Argos head coach since 1952 to win three straight post-season games.
- Became the first Toronto Argonauts head coach since the formation of the IRFU in 1907 (105 years) to take a team that did not finish above .500 all the way to the Grey Cup title.
- His 9 regular season wins matched the Argonauts best record since 2007.
- Joined Adam Rita (1991) as the only Toronto rookie head coaches to win the Grey Cup since 1952.