President, General Manager and Executive Committee Member
CFL: 23rd season
Stamps: 22nd season
John Hufnagel was named president of the Calgary Stampeders on Jan. 27, 2016, and has been the club’s general manager since 2008.
After returning to the Stampeders following the 2007 season, Hufnagel served eight years as head coach and general manager before ceding coaching duties to Dave Dickenson at the conclusion of the 2015 season.
Hufnagel is a member of the 2020 class of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in the builders’ category and he was the 2019 recipient of the CFL’s Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award.
Hufnagel is also a two-time winner of Annis Stukus Trophy as the CFL’s coach of the year and led the Stampeders to Grey Cup victories in 2008 and 2014. He had a 102-41-1 career mark as a head coach and his winning percentage is best among coaches with at least 100 games on the sidelines.
The Stampeders have posted a winning record in 13 consecutive seasons since Hufnagel’s return in 2008 and have accumulated seven first-place finishes in the West Division while qualifying for the post-season every year. Hufnagel has served as GM for three Grey Cup-winning teams.
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 Wally 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 first seven seasons with the Stampeders, the team finished first in the West Division six times.
Following his early 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 team’s quarterbacks coach. In 2001, he was the quarterbacks coach for the Indianapolis Colts when Peyton Manning completed 62.7 per cent of his passes and threw 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. Running back Tiki Barber set a franchise record with 1,518 rushing yards and quarterback Eli Manning started 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 and general manager.
Prior to coaching, Hufnagel starred at Penn State University. In his final two seasons as the starting quarterback, 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 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 beginning a 12-year CFL career with the 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. John and his wife Sherry reside in Cochrane. He has two daughters, Neely and Lindsey, and a son, Cole.