With just about two weeks remaining before the CFL draft, the Ottawa Redblacks have added two more coaches to their staff. Prior to these additions the coaching staff for the Redblacks was looking awfully thin on the defensive side of the ball following the departure of Carey Bailey.
To replace Bailey Ottawa decided to stray from the Canadian Borders. They have tapped former NFL assistant coach Mike Phair. Phair had spent the 2021 season with Stanford. He was hired to coach the defensive line for the Carolina Panthers under Phil Snow. Snow first ran a defense in 1980, and has since spent 27 seasons total running defenses. Prior to his time with the Panthers he coached under defensive coordinator Matt Eburflus in Indianapolis.
As if those two names weren’t enough he also spent several seasons working closely with Lovie Smith in three separate stops. Ironically Smith brought Phair to Chicago, where Smith found himself fired in 2012. Despite Smith leaving Chicago, Phair stayed in his role as Defensive Line coach through 2013. In 2014, he reunited with Lovie Smith in Tampa as the assistant defensive line coach. However in 2015 he was offered a Co-Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Line Coach position with Illinois which he accepted.
This time it was Lovie who followed Phair. After the 2015 season Smith was let go in favor of his offensive coordinator at the time, and landed on his feet with….Illinois as the head coach. He would slightly adjust Phair’s title to Run Game Coordinator, and Defensive Line Coach. Moving on to the other addition on the defensive side of the ball.
Formerly a defensive backs coach, Paul Eddy Saint-Vilien, finds himself finally making the leap to the CFL level. Saint-Vilien has been bouncing around at the college level in Canada for years. He last coached with the Carleton University Ravens where he spent four seasons as the defensive coordinator and interim head coach.
Although Saint-Vilien spent his last four seasons with Carleton he is likely best known for his time with the Montreal Carabins where he originally coached defensive backs from 2008 to 2011. He returned to Montreal in 2014 when he accepted the Linebacker coach position which he held from 2014-2016 before being promoted to defensive coordinator.
While with Montreal he worked under head coach Danny MacIocia who is currently the general manager for the Montreal Alouettes. He would leave for Carleton and a defensive coordinator position in 2018 where he stayed until present day.
With these two hires, it’s safe to say the Redblacks will not be making any more additions to their coaching staff barring any freak occurrences that is. I think Paul LaPolice has built a solid staff, and these two experienced coaches joining the staff only helps reaffirm that belief.
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