CFL veteran Bob O'Billovich announced his retirement Monday at a news conference at the Hamilton Tiger-Cats business office.
O'Billovich, 72, has spent the last five years as the Ticats general manager.Bob O'Billovich was named the Hamilton Tiger Cats' general manager in 2007. (Simon Wilson/The Canadian Press)
“Today is a bittersweet day for me," O'Billovich said at a press conference. "I was really hoping that when this day came, it would be after we brought the city of Hamilton its 16th Grey Cup.”
“However, like the saying goes, sometimes the best laid plans go astray.”
The native of Butte, Mont., has been a player, coach and executive in the CFL in a career that began in 1963 as a quarterback/defensive back with the now defunct Ottawa Rough Riders.
O'Billovich played five seasons with Ottawa before beginning his coaching career with the club, first as a guest coach before being named an assistant coach.
O'Billovich also served as a university basketball coach in Ottawa, leading the Carleton men's program from 1971 to 1973. He then served as the Ottawa Gee-Gees hoops coach from 1973 to 1974.
He was hired as head coach of the Toronto Argonauts in 1982 and spent eight seasons on the sidelines, leading the Double Blue to three Grey Cup appearances (winning in '83).
O'Billovich joined the B.C. Lions as head coach during the 1990 campaign and remained through the 1992 season before returning to Toronto as GM in '93.
He also took over coaching duties in Toronto during the '93 season. O'Billovich relinquished those duties following the 1994 campaign but found himself back on the sidelines in 1995.
O'Billovich served as B.C.'s player-personnel director from 2003 to '07 before being hired as Hamilton's GM.
The Ticats promoted O'Billovich to vice-president of football operations in January 2012.
But after the Ticats missed the playoffs last season with a 6-12 record, they fired rookie head coach George Cortez and hired Kent Austin as the club's director of football operations, GM and head coach.
O'Billovich was offered an opportunity to remain with the organization as a consultant.
He leaves the CFL as a two-time winner of the league's coach of the year award (1982, 1987) and a Grey Cup champion ('83).
He is also the all-time winningest head coach in Argos history, compiling an 89-89-3 record over 11 seasons.