Dan Hawkins can Re-write his Legacy with Alouettes

Al Dannity | Updated Jun 21, 2013


Is he the man who led Boise State to the verge of the promised land or the coach who kept his son in too long at Colorado? Dan Hawkins would prefer you judge him on what he achieves in the CFL with the Als.

Fresh starts are precious gifts. Success north of the border can change how Dan Hawkins is perceived. At Colorado his record was miserable, going 19-39 in five miserable seasons with the Buffs. A year before he joined, the Buffs won the Big 12 North and made a bowl game. That success hid the real problems. Colorado had back its way into the title game from a putrid division and ended up losing four straight to end 2005. The Buffs stretch of woe began in those dying days of the Gary Barnett era but Hawkins has taken most of the blame. Hawkins did himself no favours by sticking by his son Cody at quarterback for too long but there were greater problems with this program than a coach favouring his kid. Hawkins however did at least make a bowl game with the Buffs, something his predecessors have failed to do.

Prior to arriving at Boulder, Hawkins was lauded for his work with Boise State. The Broncos went 53-11 under him and won the WAC four years running, losing just one conference game in his final four seasons at the helm. Hawkins however would soon be overshadowed by Chris Petersen, who guided the Broncos to an incredible Fiesta Bowl victory in his first year at the helm. The success the Broncos have enjoyed since his departure has meant Hawkins’ achievements at Boise don’t hold up all that well.

In Montreal he’s in a unique position. One which could facilitate a legitimate comeback from a coach who still yearns to prove he’s a winner. Following in the footsteps of Marc Trestman won’t be easy but he’s inheriting a solid roster and, at 52, he’s young enough to use this position as a launch-pad. The style Hawkins uses is more in the Mack Brown mould, acting as a CEO and leaving the nuts and bolts to his coordinators. That will prove challenging but with a new coaching staff hungry to prove their worth, Hawkins knows he will get buy-in from the men around him. There’s only one measure of success in Montreal. No matter what Hawkins does in the regular season, he’ll find out soon enough that it’s a Grey Cup or nothing for Als fans. That’s just what a man on the path to redemption needs.