• Xs and Argos Staff

Barker Officially Announced


Photo: Courtesy Toronto Argonauts


The Toronto Argonauts have announced they’re bringing TSN Panelist Jim Barker aboard as a senior advisor.


It’s a bit of a different role for Barker, but he’s no stranger to the Argos. Barker has been Toronto’s offensive line coach, offensive coordinator, the head coach twice, and he served most recently as the club’s general manager from 2011-2017.


Not every previous stint ended well and his impact on team success has been debated, but there’s no doubt his time in Toronto coincided with some of the club’s most celebrated moments over the past 25 years.


He was the team’s line coach and co-offensive coordinator in 1997 when Doug Flutie scorched the rest of the league en route to a Grey Cup win. Barker took over as head coach in 1999, but he and the club departed ways when they couldn’t rekindle the same fire without Flutie.


In 2010, after an 11-year hiatus, Barker was brought back as head coach of the Argonauts. He hired first time coaches Mike O’Shea (special teams) and Orlando Steinauer (defensive backs) and was named Coach of the Year for leading an undermanned Argos team to the East Final. A few months later, when “general manager” was added to his job title, Barker shook up the league by trading for quarterback Ricky Ray, Edmonton’s all-time leader in completions, passing yards, and touchdowns. Ray would go on to become Toronto’s all-time leader in those same categories. Barker’s Argos won the Grey Cup with Ray in 2012.


The rest of Barker’s tenure as GM didn’t go very well on the field and he was fired by the organization following the 2016 season.


The dismissal of John Murphy, vice-president of player personnel, left a John Murphy-sized hole in the Argos’ front office. The organization was correct in parting ways with Murphy, but replacing him with a single individual may not be possible. Fortunately, the rest of the operations staff is among the best in the CFL. Adding the experience of Jim Barker should put the club in a position to be successful heading into the 2022 CFL Draft.