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John Hufnagel
Calgary Stampeders
Position:Special advisor
Personal information
Born: (1951-09-13) September 13, 1951 (age 72)
Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:194 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school:McKees Rocks (PA) Montour
College:Penn State
NFL draft:1973 / Round: 14 / Pick: 348
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
As an executive:
  • Calgary Stampeders (20162023)
  • Calgary Stampeders (2024–Present)
    Special advisor
As an administrator:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Passing yards:357
Career CFL statistics
Passing attempts:2,694
Passing completions:1,495
Completion percentage:55.5
Passing yards:21,594
Player stats at · PFR
Coaching stats at PFR

John Coleman Hufnagel (born September 13, 1951) is a special advisor for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He has previously served as the Stampeders' President, General Manager, Head Coach, and Offensive Coordinator. He played quarterback for fifteen professional seasons in the CFL and National Football League (NFL). Prior to his hiring to the Stampeders on December 3, 2007, he was the offensive coordinator of the New York Giants of the NFL.

Playing career

Hufnagel was an All-American at Penn State University in 1972, where he was the starting quarterback for three seasons (1970–1972) with a 26–3 record under head coach Joe Paterno. As a junior, he was instrumental in the Nittany Lions' 30–6 Cotton Bowl victory in Dallas over the University of Texas.[1][2] He led a backfield which included Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchell and Penn State finished 11–1, fifth in the final AP poll.[3]

In 1972, Hufnagel became the first Nittany Lion quarterback to pass for more than 2,000 yards in a season. His 2,039 passing yards set Penn State's single-season record for passing yards (since broken) and he remains among the top 10 in most major career passing categories. He finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting that year, won by Johnny Rodgers of Nebraska,[4] (and won the following year by Penn State running back John Cappelletti). Hufnagel's final game as a collegian was the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, a 14–0 shutout loss to the University of Oklahoma on New Year's Eve.[5] Without Cappelletti due to the flu, the Penn State running game was weak and the Sooner defense dominated the game.[6]

A 14th-round selection (348th overall) of the Denver Broncos in the 1973 NFL Draft, Hufnagel spent three seasons with the Broncos, then twelve more in the Canadian Football League with the Calgary Stampeders (1976–1979), Saskatchewan Roughriders (1980–1983, 1987), and Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1984–1986).

Player-Coach & Early Coaching Career


In 1987, Hufnagel served as a player-coach for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The Roughriders acquired his playing rights from Winnipeg, and named him as their Quarterback/Receiver Coach. On August 28, in a 39-13 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos, Hufnagel saw his first playing action of the season. During the game, he suffered a career ending Achilles tendon injury.

In his coaching role, Hufnagel helped mentor the team's young quarterbacks: Jeff Bentrim, Tom Burgess, and Kent Austin, who joined the team later in the season.

During the 2014 Grey Cup Coaches News Conference, when Hufnagel and Austin were opposing coaches, Austin credited Hufnagel for giving him shortcuts in 1987 so that he could have a chance to succeed early as a Canadian Football quarterback instead of having to go through huge growing pains due to inexperience.[7]

Early Coaching Career

In 1988 and 1989, Hufnagel worked as real estate agent in Calgary. During this time, he also served as a guest coach for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and as a volunteer coach at the University of Calgary.

Professional coaching career

Canadian Football League

In January 1990, Hufnagel was hired by new Calgary Stampeders head coach, Wally Buono, to be the team's quarterbacks and running backs coach. By March, he had been given the title of offensive coordinator. In June 1994, Hufnagel added Assistant Head Coach to his title.

Under Hufnagel's tutelage, the five- and six-receiver package became a staple in Calgary's offence.[8] In 1994, Calgary set CFL records for points scored one season (698), touchdowns one season (82), and touchdowns passing one season (52).

Future Pro Bowler quarterbacks Doug Flutie and Jeff Garcia earned All-CFL honors. In 1994, Allen Pitts set a CFL record for receiving yards in a season (2,036). Receiver Dave Sapunjis was the CFL's Most Outstanding Canadian twice (1993 and 1995). In 1995, Pitts and Sapunjis both caught 100 passes.

Arena Football League and CFL

In 1997, Hufnagel became head coach and general manager of the Arena Football League’s New Jersey Red Dogs. In two seasons there, he posted a 17–11 record.

In the second half of both the 1997 and 1998 CFL seasons, the BC Lions brought Hufnagel in as a consultant to help with their offence.

National Football League

After two seasons (1999, 2000) as the quarterbacks coach for the Cleveland Browns, Hufnagel was named the quarterbacks coach of the Indianapolis Colts, where he coached Peyton Manning to a 62.7 percent completion percentage and for 4,131 yards passing. He spent the 2002 season as the quarterbacks coach on Tom Coughlin’s staff in Jacksonville. That year, quarterback Mark Brunell threw only seven interceptions in 416 pass attempts, and an 85.7 quarterback rating. He spent the 2003 season with the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Under Hufnagel's tutelage, Tom Brady earned a second Super Bowl MVP award, completing 60.2 percent of his passes for 3,620 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Hufnagel became the offensive coordinator of the New York Giants in 2004, and molded them into one of the NFL's most potent offenses. Tiki Barber set a franchise rushing record two years in a row, and the Giants became only the fifth team in NFL history to have five different players score at least seven touchdowns. (Tiki Barber, Jeremy Shockey, Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer and Brandon Jacobs). While Hufnagel is credited with the rapid development of quarterback Eli Manning, he is sometimes criticized for his often predictable play-calling and an inability to utilize his offensive play-makers effectively.

During the 2006 season, Hufnagel came under much criticism for being too pass-happy and abandoning the running game after the Giants trailed during games. In addition, he was also questioned for having Manning throw the ball the third and sixth most passes in the league over 2005 and 2006 despite Tiki Barber clearly being the best player on offense. In addition, his situational play-calling came under scrutiny, such as when running back Brandon Jacobs was removed from the game inside the five yard-line in two games, thus making the offense more predictable to opposing defenses.

Following a 30–7 defeat by the New Orleans Saints, Hufnagel was stripped of his duties as offensive coordinator. A week later, it was revealed he was fired.

Return to the CFL

During the BC Lions' 2007 Training Camp, Hufnagel served as a guest coach.[9]

On December 3, 2007, Hufnagel was hired as the head coach and general manager of the Calgary Stampeders. In his first season, he led the Stampeders to the Grey Cup title with a 22–14 victory over the Montreal Alouettes on November 23. For his performance in the 2008 CFL season, he was awarded the Annis Stukus Trophy as the CFL's coach of the year.[10]

On March 29, 2012, the Stampeders announced that Hufnagel had agreed to a five-year contract extension.[11] That year, he guided the Stamps back to the Grey Cup game. The Stampeders lost the 100th Grey Cup game to the Toronto Argonauts 35-22. In the 2013 CFL season, Hufnagel and the Stampeders finished the season with a league-best 14-4 record. They lost the Western Final to Saskatchewan.

The following season, Hufnagel led the Stampeders to a 15-3 record, the top record in the CFL once again. In the playoffs, the Calgary Stampeders faced the Edmonton Eskimos (who previously eliminated Saskatchewan) and defeated them 43-18, leading them to Calgary's second Grey Cup in three years. They would face the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the 102nd Grey Cup and win the game 20-16 for Calgary's seventh Grey Cup championship. Following the Stampeder's championship season of 2014, Hufnagel was awarded the Annis Stukus Trophy as the CFL coach of the year for the second time in his career.

On December 3, 2014, Hufnagel announced that the 2015 season would be his last in coaching. In 2016, the plan was for offensive coordinator Dave Dickenson to take over as head coach, with Hufnagel continuing as general manager.[12] In week 17 of 2015, Hufnagel reached 100 wins as a head coach and as a general manager.[13] When he left coaching, Hufnagel was the second-winningest head coach in Stampeders history, trailing only Buono. He was also tied with Bud Grant as the ninth-winningest coach in CFL history (102 wins), and had the most wins of any coach, along with Grant, who spent his entire CFL coaching career with just one team.

In January 2016, Hufnagel was named president of the Stampeders, and continued as general manager.[14] Calgary went to the next three Grey Cup games, winning in 2018.

Prior to the 2023 season, Hufnagel stepped down as general manager, and the position was given to Dickenson. Hufnagel gained 175 wins as Calgary's general manager, which placed him fourth all-time in CFL history. He retained his position as team president and added football operations consultant to his title.[15][16]

On January 23, 2024, the Stampeders announced that Hufnagel would remain with the organization and assume the role of special advisor to Jay McNeil, the football club's new President, and to Dickenson, the football club's General Manager and Head Coach.[17]

He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame as a builder in 2020.[18]

CFL coaching record

Team Year Regular season Post season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Result
CGY 2008 13 5 0 .722 1st in West Division 2 0 Won Grey Cup
CGY 2009 10 7 1 .583 2nd in West Division 1 1 Lost West Final
CGY 2010 13 5 0 .722 1st in West Division 0 1 Lost West Final
CGY 2011 11 7 0 .611 3rd in West Division 0 1 Lost West Semi-Final
CGY 2012 12 6 0 .666 2nd in West Division 2 1 Lost Grey Cup
CGY 2013 14 4 0 .777 1st in West Division 0 1 Lost West Final
CGY 2014 15 3 0 .833 1st in West Division 2 0 Won Grey Cup
CGY 2015 14 4 0 .777 2nd in West Division 1 1 Lost West Final
Total 102 41 1 .712 4 West Division
8 6 2 Grey Cups

Personal life

Hufnagel earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from Penn State University in 1973. Hufnagel and his wife, Sherry, live in Cochrane, Alberta.[19] He has two daughters, Neely and Lindsey. His son, Cole, has been employed in the Stampeders' scouting department since 2016.[20] He graduated from Montour High School in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, a suburb southwest of Pittsburgh.

See also


  1. ^ "Texas Wishbone catches in throat". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. January 2, 1972. p. 61.
  2. ^ "Penn State scuttles Texas for 30-6 Cotton Bowl win". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. January 2, 1972. p. 1, sports.
  3. ^ "Huskers solid No. 1". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. January 4, 1972. p. 20.
  4. ^ "Nebraska's Rodgers Heisman winner". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. December 5, 1972. p. 17.
  5. ^ Estill, Jerry (January 2, 1973). "Fumbles cut down Oklahoma's points". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. p. 30.
  6. ^ Heufelder, Bill (January 2, 1973). "Oklahoma 'Tinkers' with Lions in Sugar Bowl". Pittsburgh Press. p. 28.
  7. ^ "Grey Cup festivities kick off with annual coaches news conference -". TSN. The Canadian Press. November 26, 2014. Retrieved January 25, 2024.
  8. ^ "Offences can thank 'Huff' for six-pack air attack". December 2, 2007. Retrieved January 25, 2024.
  9. ^ "Lions fill out guest coach roster". May 9, 2007. Retrieved January 25, 2024.
  10. ^ "Hufnagel named CFL's top coach". CBC Sports. March 3, 2009. Retrieved March 3, 2009.
  11. ^ "John Hufnagel gets five-year extension". Calgary Stampeders. March 29, 2012. Retrieved February 4, 2024.
  12. ^ "Hufnagel is coming back". Calgary Stampeders. December 3, 2014. Retrieved January 25, 2024.
  13. ^ "Landry: 100 wins later, Hufnagel has changed the CFL". October 24, 2015. Retrieved January 25, 2024.
  14. ^ "Hufnagel named Stamps president". Calgary Stampeders. January 27, 2016. Retrieved January 25, 2024.
  15. ^ Saelhof, Todd (December 12, 2022). "One voice, one vision': Stampeders coach Dickenson takes on GM duties". Calgary Sun. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  16. ^ "Stamps name Dickenson GM, Hufnagel stays as pres". December 12, 2022. Retrieved January 25, 2024.
  17. ^ "JAY McNEIL APPOINTED TEAM PRESIDENT". Calgary Stampeders. January 23, 2024. Retrieved January 24, 2024.
  18. ^ "Canadian Football Hall of Fame unveils 2020 induction class". Canadian Football League. July 16, 2020.
  19. ^ "20 to '20: Calgary's sporting icons of the 2000s so far — John Hufnagel". Calgary Sun. December 19, 2020.
  20. ^ "Football ops staff announced". Calgary Stampeders. January 4, 2016. Retrieved January 25, 2024.