Dan Hawkins is hoping a little French-Canadian football is the right atmosphere to resurrect his coaching career.
The Boise resident landed his first coaching job since November 2010, when he was fired by Colorado, by becoming the 20th head coach in Montreal history Tuesday.
Hawkins, 52, who led Boise State from 2001 to 2005, has no coaching experience in the Canadian Football League.
"Some people are a comfort-zone guy, that's not me you get nowhere by playing it safe,'' said Hawkins, who has a three-year contract. "Coaching in a French-speaking province, in a foreign country, with 12 guys on the field in motion all the time, that's right up my alley.''
Hawkins, who has been working as a college football analyst for ESPN and Sirius Radio, opened his press conference by attempting to speak French.
He then promised two things: To officially learn the language and to bring passion to Alouettes football.
"Dan is especially well known in his profession for the contributions he made to the personal lives of his players as beyond just the science of football, he's by nature a teacher and an unusually fine human being,'' Montreal owner Bob Wetenhall said.
"Dan very well understands my three goals for the franchise, to institutionalize the Alouettes in Montreal, to make meaningful contributions to the community we serve and to win football games.''
Hawkins' coaching staff includes Ryan Dinwiddie, his former quarterback at Boise State.
Dinwiddie, a veteran CFL player with Montreal, Winnipeg and Saskatchewan, is the Alouettes' offensive quality control coach.
Hawkins, one of 50 candidates for the position, replaces Marc Trestman, who was hired as the Chicago Bears head coach last month. Trestman led the Alouettes to within one game of the Grey Cup last season.
The CFL season begins in June.