One of the most successful of the Canadian Football League’s front-office administrators over the past 25 years is once again on the free agent market.
Mooresville’s Jim Popp is once again available to become one of the premier targets being sought by CFL organizations during the upcoming off season.
Popp, who has spent his entire professional career within the CFL, was recently relieved of his duties as the third-year general manager of the Toronto Argonauts following the completion of the latest season.
Popp was hired by Toronto after agreeing to a three-year contract in 2017.
Popp brought with him hefty credentials the Argos’ administration. He has been in charge of one CFL team or another in a front-office capacity since the start of the 1994 season. He pieced together an impressive resume during that time span.
Popp was pivotal in helping guide teams to the playoffs in each of his first 21 years at the helm. Two of those organizations combined to account for a total of 10 appearances in the CFL Grey Cup that is equivalent to the National Football League’s Super Bowl. Four of those teams emerged with the coveted Cup trophy in tow.
Before becoming the 19th general manager in the all-time history of the Toronto franchise, he spent time filling roles as a coach, GM, director of player personnel and director of football operations for several of his former CFL employers.
Popp made an immediate impact upon his arrival in Toronto. During that inaugural ’17 season, the Boatmen — as they are sometimes called by their followers — followed up the producing of a break-even 9-9 record during the regular season by hitting a peak capped with the winning of the Grey Cup title.
Over the past couple of years, though, a steady decline of that similar success rate has been in place. None of Popp’s teams since the 2012 season have secured a winning record during the regular season.
Toronto in particular struggled. The Argonauts followed up a disappointing season after winning the Grey Cup by posting a 4-14 record this past season. That served to place the team third within its four-team East Division and out of any playoff consideration. Popp was actually released from his GM role during the course of the season’s schedule.
It’s just the second time he has been without a CFL job in 25 years.
He departs from the Argonauts, accounting for his third stop in the league, with an overall 269-203-1 record coming complete with a 27-17 mark in the playoffs as well as 11 total appearances in the Grey Cup and five all-time titles.
Popp followed up his playing career first at the high school level at Mooresville and then in college at Michigan State by serving as a collegiate assistant coach prior to embarking on a professional career that has been spent entirely within the CFL.
He remains the only GM to be part of a team’s 18-win season within the CFL, a feat the then Baltimore Stallions accomplished. He is also the lone primary front office administrator to be with an organization that won 12 or more games in seven straight seasons.
Popp was recognized by his peers as the CFL’s Executive of the Year in 2011.
In the past, Popp has been mentioned as a potential candidate to fill coaching and/or administrative positions within the NFL.
Popp maintains his permanent residence in Mooresville.