A familiar face is back on the sidelines with the Montreal Alouettes.
The team announced Thursday that Anthony Calvillo will return to the organization as quarterback coach for the 2022 season.
The CFL’s all-time leading passer had been offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at the Université de Montréal for the past three seasons.
General manager Danny Maciocia reached out to Calvillo over the holidays asking if he was interested in coming back to the Alouettes. After speaking to head coach Khari Jones, Calvillo accepted the opportunity.
He’s rejoining the team where he played 16 of his 20 pro seasons. He also served as Montreal’s receivers coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2015 to 2017, and as quarterbacks coach for the Toronto Argonauts in 2018.
Calvillo took over the Université de Montréal Carabins in 2019 and said he’s evolved during his time there.
“I think the biggest thing is that I’ve grown as a teacher. As a coach, you’re really a teacher,” he said. “You’re trying to get the best out of your students and I really feel that the last few years that I’ve become a better teacher and a lot of it has to do with because I’ve become a lot more patient.”
“I got into coaching with a certain expectation from the athletes and then I came to realize that those athletes were not me.”
Calvillo admitted his previous coaching tenure in the CFL was difficult. Now with university level experience under his belt, he feels he is a much more complete man for the job.
“I had to re-evaluate how to introduce this and how I was teaching so just being around that environment allowed me to do the adjustments and changes that I feel have made me a better coach,” Calvillo said. “I think that reflected in my interview with Khari and in the discussions that we had. Yes, most definitely the University of Montreal and that experience has made me the coach that I am today.”
“It only takes one person to believe in you and right now Khari Jones believes that I can bring value to the football team and help build what they’re doing right now.”
As a player, Calvillo led the Alouettes to three Grey Cups (2002, 2009, 2010).
The 49-year-old retired in 2014 and still holds numerous CFL passing records, including most passing yards with 79,816. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2017.
Calvillo’s new role will see him work closely with starting QB Vernon Adams Jr., who chalked up 1,949 passing yards and 14 touchdowns for Montreal in eight games last season.
The Alouettes showed their faith in Adams by giving the University of Oregon star a two-year contract extension last month. Montreal also released quarterback Trevor Harris.
Calvillo started as a coach during Adams’ first season in the CFL and said he’s looking forward to a reunion.
“I’m sure he has grown so much over the past three years just as I’ve grown as a football coach and teacher,” Calvillo said.
“I’m going to bring the knowledge that I’ve acquired over the years and try to help him grow as an individual. Not how I want him to grow but the way he wants to grow going forward and how the team sees him.”
With Calvillo making his return to the Montreal sidelines and Jones heading into the last year of his contract, the former star quarterback was quick to note that he’s not looking to climb the coaching ladder any time soon.
“I think the writing is on the wall that it just does not happen that easily whatsoever. Everybody’s learning curve is different, this is my personal journey right now.” Calvillo said. “Down the road you never know what’s going to happen and like I said in my first couple of years I am in no rush because I still have a lot to learn.”