June 14, 2017 - Canadian Football League (CFL) - Montreal Alouettes
Matthews was in his first year as the Head Coach of the Alouettes when the team won the Grey Cup in 2002. He was also voted the CFL's coach of the year for the fifth time in his career that same year. He had named Anthony Calvillo his starting quarterback in 2002 and let the young pivot call his own plays.
"Don's arrival with the Alouettes was a true blessing for me," declared Calvillo, who is now the Alouettes' quarterback coach. "He showed a lot of confidence in me and we developed a very special and unique relationship. He was a big reason that this team had a lot of success in Montreal over such a long period. I have kept in contact with him throughout the years and up until his last days. I am deeply saddened by his passing and Don will truly be missed by all."
During his five seasons at the helm of the Alouettes, the Amesbury, MA native saw his team win 58 regular season games, five playoff games and four East Division titles. He also led Montreal to three Grey Cup games in 2002, 2003 and 2005.
Matthews was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2011, following a brilliant career that lasted over 22 seasons. At the moment of his retirement, he was the CFL's all-time leader with 231 career wins, against 133 losses and one tie. He had also won five Grey Cups while leading teams to that stage on nine separate occasions. He is the only coach to have won the Grey Cup in four different decades.
"Today, we mourn the passing of a coaching legend. Don has left no one in the rich history of our league indifferent," said Alouettes General Manager Kavis Reed, who was coached by Matthews as a member of the 1999 Edmonton Eskimos and was also part of his coaching staff with the 2008 Toronto Argonauts. "Coach Matthews had an unparalleled way of bringing teams together and getting everyone to work on the same common goal. His memory will live on forever."
Matthews started his professional coaching career as the Edmonton Eskimos linebackers coach in 1977, before becoming the team's defensive coordinator the following season.
"Don truly left his mark on the Canadian Football League. He was a model and an inspiration for a great deal of coaches in the league, as much for his strategy on the field as for his ability to make teams come together," said Alouettes Head Coach Jacques Chapdelaine, who was coached by Matthews with the BC Lions in 1983-84.
In 1994, he was appointed the Head Coach of the Baltimore Stallions, an American expansion team in the CFL. He led the team to the Grey Cup game that first year, before the team hoisted the trophy the following year, becoming the first and only American team to ever win the Grey Cup. During that season, Matthews became only the sixth Head Coach to reach the 100-win plateau in the CFL.
In 1996, Matthews was named the Head Coach of the Toronto Argonauts, leading them to back-to-back Grey Cups in 1996-1997.