Noel Thorpe – Assistant Head Coach, Defensive Coordinator
Assistant Head Coach, Defensive Coordinator
2017 – Thorpe enters his fifth season as the Alouettes Defensive Coordinator and his fourth as Assistant Head Coach. This year marks Thorpe’s 21st season in coaching and his 11th year doing so with the Alouettes.
Over the last five seasons the Alouettes defence has been amongst the most dominant in league rankings, either top or near the top in points allowed, touchdowns allowed, sacks and turnovers. In 2013, Chip Cox was voted CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player. The next season Bear Woods garnered the Eastern Division defensive nomination.
Last season, his ferocious defensive squad, allowed a league-low 32 touchdowns. It also dominated all other teams in the CFL, allowing opposing offences to score only 24 touchdowns in 54 red zone opportunities (44,4%). Bear Woods led the squad with 126 defensive tackles, good for second in the CFL, which also allowed him to set a new team record and receive a second Eastern Division Most Outstanding Defensive Player award.
In 2015, the Alouettes defence was the fourth stingiest of the CFL, allowing an average of only 20.1 offensive points per game. The top ranked rush defense, conceding an average of only 4.6 yards per carry. The Alouettes finished second in the league in sacks with 55, averaging 3.1 per game. Defensive end John Bowman had a stellar year with 19 sacks, good for first overall in the CFL. He added a career-high 46 defensive tackles to the most successful season of his remarkable ten-year career. All of this made him an obvious East Division All-Star for the sixth time of his career. Linebacker Winston Venable also benefited from Thorpe’s system, earning his first selection as an East Division All-Star in his first complete season as a starter with an impressive total of 104 defensive tackles and five quarterback sacks.
From 2011-2012, Thorpe coached at the Université de Montreal. In 2012, the Carabins finished the season with an impressive 8-1 record while boasting the top defence in the country, allowing only 102 points in nine games. He was also the head coach of the gold-medal winning Team Canada Squad that defeated Team USA at the IFAF U19 World Championship that same year in Austin, TX.
From 2008-2010, Thorpe held the position of Special Teams Coordinator and Defensive Backs Coach with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos. During his two seasons with the Esks he also served as the team’s assistant head coach.
He held the position of Special Teams Coordinator during his first stint with the Alouettes. His responsibilities also included coaching defensive backs from 2003 to 2007. Over the span of six years, Thorpe helped the Alouettes reach the Grey Cup four times, winning it in 2002, marking the team’s first championship since 1977.
Previously, Thorpe helped the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds win the Vanier Cup in 1997. During his tenure at UBC, he held various positions; including those of Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Backs Coach from 1996 to 2000. He coached the defensive backs at Simon Fraser University in 2001 and still shares his passion and knowledge across the country where he regularly takes part in various coaching clinics.
Thorpe lives in Pointe-Claire with his wife Erminia and their two children.