Former CFL head coach Joe Paopao joins SFU Clan football as offensive coordinator.

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CFL great Joe Paopao is new offensive coordinator for SFU Clan

March 27, 2015
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By Steve Frost

Former B.C. Lions quarterback and head coach Joe Paopao has been appointed offensive coordinator of the Simon Fraser University Clan football team.

Paopao brings 25 years of coaching experience to the Clan. He has been a head coach in both the Canadian Football League (CFL) and in Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

“We are very fortunate to bring into our program someone with Joe’s experience to help teach and mentor our young athletes,” says Clan head coach Kelly Bates.

“Joe has accomplished a lot in football and he’s going to have a positive impact on our athletes and he’s going to help us build a successful program here at SFU.”

Bates and Paopao were position coaches with the B.C. Lions in 2014.

“I am excited to work with Kelly to create a culture here at Simon Fraser where student athletes can excel on the field and in life,” says Paopao. “My goal as a coach and mentor is to help our student athletes graduate on time and to give them an experience of a lifetime. I really believe their four or five years here are going to impact the next 40 years of their life and I enjoy being part of that process. To know that I can impact their growth in a positive way as they move on in their journey is very rewarding.”

Bates, who is finalizing his coaching staff, has retained Bryan Wyllie as linebackers coach/recruiting co-coordinator/special teams coordinator; Michael Lionello as director of football operations/recruiting co-coordinator/running backs coach/video coordinator, and Jon Klyne as receivers coach.

Paopao was head coach of the B.C. Lions during the 1996 season and of the Ottawa Renegades from 2002-2005. He has also been an offensive coordinator with the Lions, Edmonton Eskimos, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and Hamilton Tiger Cats.

As well, he served as head coach at the University of Waterloo for two seasons (2012-2014) and offensive coordinator for four seasons (2007-2011).

A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Paopao attended Long Beach State before beginning his CFL career as a quarterback for the B.C. Lions in 1978. He was nicknamed the "Throwin' Samoan" during his playing days for his exceptional passing ability and was inducted onto the BC Lions Wall of Fame in 2007.

Paopao played 11 seasons in the CFL for the B.C. Lions, Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Ottawa Rough Riders before retiring to become the Lions’ offensive backfield coach in 1989—the start of his coaching career.

Bates, now living in Coquitlam, B.C., was named SFU’s 10th head coach in on Feb. 26, 2015. He enjoyed an 11-year CFL career, eight of those with the B.C. Lions, before becoming the team’s running backs coach and Canadian Draft coordinator.

Bates replaced Jacques Chapdelaine, who left the university to become offensive coordinator of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. Chapdelaine coached the Clan to a 2-9 record in 2014, his only season as head coach at SFU.

Simon Fraser is Canada's only university competing in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), where student athletes get access to the NCAA athletic experience and a Canadian education.