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Destination Toronto!


(From the Toronto Argonauts Official Site)

The Toronto Argonauts have named John Huard as the 37th head coach in the long history of the storied CFL club, and the first man to lead them into battle in the 21st century.

Huard was chosen by the Argos' managing director J.I. Albrecht, who conducted an extensive search of highly qualified coaches in Canada and the U.S. before arriving at his decision, one month after being assigned the mission by the new Argos owner, Sherwood Schwarz.

In John Huard, 55, the Argos have a man with a wealth of coaching and playing experience in the collegiate and professional ranks, both in the U.S. and Canada.

A former "All America" selection as a linebacker at the University of Maine and captain of the Black Bears, Huard led his team to its first-ever Bowl game as a senior. He was subsequently drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 5th round of the NFL draft and started at middle linebacker, eventually captaining coach Lou Saban's squad. Following a knee injury four years later, he was traded to the New Orleans Saints where he suffered an achilles tear, often considered to be a career-ending injury. However, Huard recovered from the surgery, rehabilitating himself sufficiently enough to join the Montreal Alouettes as a player-coach under both Sam Etcheverry and Marv Levy. When the World Football League was formed in 1974, he spurned an offer to play for the then Toronto Northmen and signed instead with the Argonauts, where he reinjured his knee which consequently halted his pro playing career.

In 1979, upon the recommendation of Albrecht, Huard was hired as head coach of Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. He took the Acadia Axemen to the next level, winning the CIAU national championship in his first year as head coach, defeated the highly-favoured University of Western Ontario Mustangs 34-12 at Varsity Stadium. Two years later, Acadia won the Vanier Cup once again by the defeating the favoured University of Alberta Golden Bears 18-12, culminating a season in which Huard was named the CIAU "Coach of the Year."

In 1984, Marv Levy named Huard his special teams coach with the USFL's Chicago Blitz, where he joined successful future NFL general managers Bill Polian and John Butler as Levy aides.

When the USFL folded, Huard entered the aerospace industry in Houston until heeding the beckoned call of former Maine governor Ken Curtis (U.S. ambassador to Canada) to build the football program at Maine Maritime Academy, a school of 700 Midshipmen Cadets. Under Huard's leadership, the Mariners won the ECAC Northeast Division III championship by beating Brockport (N.Y.) State University, a school of 7,000 students. Huard was named NCAA "Coach of the Year" for that sector in 1993, prior to being named head coach of the CFL's Shreveport Pirates, an expansion franchise. After that short-lived assignment in 1994, Huard rejected a number of coaching offers until approached by J.I. Albrecht and his son Dean, who had played for Huard at Acadia and now serves as director of the Argonauts.

A number of Huard's former players have performed in the CFL and two are head coaches in the CIAU - Dan McNally at Guelph and John Stewart at St. Francis Xavier.

John is a member of the Maine Hall-of-Fame and has written two books on the game that will be published this year. He is married (wife's name is Helen), has three children and five grandchildren. He resides in the off-season in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

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