Jim Barker on Coaching and Managing in the Canadian Football League

Since joining the Canadian Football League in 1996, Jim Barker won four Grey Cups and the only XFL championship. He was the 2010 CFL Coach of the Year.

Jim Barker on Life in the Canadian Football League

At the start of Jim Barker’s storied football career as a coach and administrator, he knew getting into the league, that a life in sports was as uncertain as it could get.

“I look at it as there are 41 professional head football coaches in the world. To be able to be one of those is, is really an exciting thing.”

Barker became the youngest head coach in 1999 when he replaced the legendary Hall of Famer, Don Matthews in Toronto. Today, he is a CFL analyst for TSN.

Life in the CFL can be tumultuous and rewarding, sometimes at the same time. You never know what will happen, and there are elements to the professional Canadian game that you do not see anywhere else. Such as, when Barker was with the Toronto Argonauts after the 1999 season.

“My key doesn’t work to my office. Does that mean that I’m fired? They said, ‘well, we won’t say you’re fired, but yeah, the team got sold and your contract wasn’t part of it. I guess we should’ve called you.'”

Barker had the choice to coach a Division I college team or come to the Canadian Football League. He believes he made the only choice, and he has never looked back.

Here is the full interview.

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