CFL: Entering 14th season
Stamps: Entering 13th season
In his five seasons as Calgary’s head coach and general manager, John Hufnagel has led the Stampeders to a remarkable 59-30-1 regular-season record. That places him second on the franchise’s all-time list of coaching wins, trailing only Wally Buono, and Hufnagel’s winning percentage of .656 is tops in Red and White history.
The Stampeders have reached double digits in victories in each of Hufnagel’s five seasons at the helm, have qualified for the post-season five times and have reached the Grey Cup twice including a championship in 2008. Hufnagel and Buono are the only coaches in franchise history to lead the Stamps to the playoffs in each of their first five seasons and Hufnagel is one of four men to lead the team to multiple Grey Cup appearances.
In 2012, Hufnagel guided a Calgary team that was hit with a string of injuries — including a shoulder separation suffered by starting quarterback Drew Tate in Week 2 — to a 12-6 record and a berth in the 100th Grey Cup.
The Stamps won nine of their final 11 regular-season games and Calgary was the highest-scoring team in the West Division with 535 points, surpassing the 30-point mark on 12 occasions during the regular season.
In the playoffs, the Stampeders defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders 36-30 in the West Division semifinal before travelling to BC Place and knocking off the defending Grey Cup-champion BC Lions with a 34-29 victory in the West Division final. That allowed the Stamps to advance to the Grey Cup, where they dropped a 35-22 decision to Toronto.
For his work in 2012, Hufnagel was a finalist for the Annis Stukus Trophy as the CFL’s coach of the year. It’s an award he won in 2008 when he led the Stamps to their sixth championship in franchise history.
Hufnagel’s 59 wins since 2008 are eight more than any other West team during that five-year stretch and are tied with Montreal for the most overall. The Stamps have been first or second in points scored in all five years and lead the CFL with 2,781 points scored during that stretch, which is 335 more than the next best team.
Calgary has finished in the top half of the CFL in fewest points allowed five straight years and the team has allowed 2,228 points in past five seasons, just 42 points more than the league's stingiest team in that period.
Hufnagel began his coaching career in 1987 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders as a player/coach. In 1990, he joined the Stampeders as offensive coordinator under Buono. In this role, Hufnagel helped guide the team to three Grey Cup games, including a championship in 1992. His innovative offences were explosive under the direction of Doug Flutie, who received the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player award three consecutive years (1992-1994) with the Stamps. Hufnagel also developed Jeff Garcia and enabled him to take over from Flutie in 1996. These high-powered offences produced future Hall of Famers such as Terry Vaughn, Rocco Romano, Allen Pitts, and Flutie, along with players who received numerous league accolades such as Dave Sapunjis and Vince Danielsen. During Hufnagel’s seven seasons with the Stampeders, the team finished first in the West Division six times.
Following his success in the CFL, he went to the Arena Football League as head coach/general manager of the New Jersey Red Dogs. In two seasons, he posted a 17-11 record. Hufnagel joined the Cleveland Browns in 1999 and spent two seasons as the quarterbacks coach. In 2001, he was the quarterbacks coach for the Indianapolis Colts when Peyton Manning completed 62.7 per cent of his passes for 4,131 yards. Hufnagel spent the 2002 season as quarterbacks coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. That year, Mark Brunell threw just seven interceptions in 416 pass attempts and his 85.7 quarterback rating was his highest in four years.
Hufnagel spent the 2003 season as quarterbacks coach for the Super Bowl-champion New England Patriots. Under his tutelage, Tom Brady completed 60.2 per cent of his passes for 3,620 yards, 23 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and was named the Super Bowl MVP.
The next season, Hufnagel joined the New York Giants, with whom he spent three seasons as offensive coordinator. In 2004, the Giants scored 60 more points than they had the previous season (303-243). Running back Tiki Barber set a franchise record with 1,518 rushing yards and quarterback Eli Manning starting laying a foundation that saw him emerge as the Super Bowl MVP for the 2007 season. In 2005, Barber upped his team record to 1,860 rushing yards and the Giants had the third-highest scoring offence in the NFL.
Hufnagel returned to the Stampeders on Dec. 3, 2007, when he was introduced as head coach/general manager.
Prior to coaching, Hufnagel starred at Penn State University. In his final two seasons as a starter, Hufnagel’s record was 21-3. As a junior, he led the Nittany Lions to a 30-6 Cotton Bowl win over Texas and in his final season took his team to the Sugar Bowl. He also finished sixth in Heisman Trophy voting in 1972.
In 1973, he was a 14th-round draft choice of the Denver Broncos. He spent three seasons with the Broncos before starting a 12-year CFL career with the Calgary Stampeders (1976-79), Saskatchewan Roughriders (1980-83, 1987) and Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1984-86).
Hufnagel earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from Penn State. He and his wife, Penny, have two daughters, Neely and Lindsey, and a son, Cole.