CFL Pass

Eskimos announce coaching staff for 2020 CFL season

The Edmonton Eskimos have announced their coaching staff for the 2020 Canadian Football League season.

Joining Scott Milanovich, who replaced the fired Jason Maas as head coach in December, will be defensive co-ordinator Noel Thorpe, offensive line coach John McDonnell, and wide receivers and pass-game co-ordinator Winston October, while special-teams co-ordinator A.J. Gass, defensive line coach Demetrious Maxie and defensive assistant Derek Oswalt are all resuming the same roles they’ve previously held with the club.

Entering his 17th season as a CFL coach, Thorpe joins the Eskimos for the second time, after having previously been with the club from 2008-10 in various roles, including special-teams co-ordinator, defensive backs coach and assistant head coach.

He spent the last two years co-ordinating the Ottawa Redblacks defence, and has coached in five Grey Cups.

October is also making a return to his old stomping grounds of Commonwealth Stadium, where he was a receiver from 2001-04. After joining the coaching ranks in 2013 with Virginia Military Institute, he returned to the CFL as the Redblacks receivers coach in 2018.

The Ottawa ties the current crop of Eskimos have had since general manager Brock Sunderland, the Redblacks former assistant GM, took over in 2017 continue to grow with Wednesday’s coaching staff announcements.

And for good reason, Milanovich said. Putting the right pieces in place on a group in charge of giving players direction is no small undertaking, which is why familiarity tends to play such a big part in the process.

“It’s hard to hire coaches you don’t know, that you haven’t worked with or for,” Milanovich said. “It’s a ton of time that you spend together and there’s got to be a fit. If you don’t know him, it’s difficult.”

Milanovich will wear multiple hats, primarily as Eskimos head coach and offensive co-ordinator, while also acting as quarterbacks coach and special-teams assistant.

The club says additional assistant coaches are yet to be announced.

This story will be updated following a media luncheon with Milanovich and general manager Brock Sunderland this afternoon.


On Twitter: @GerryModdejonge


More on this: 16 stories