Mike O'Shea hired as Blue Bombers head coach

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers announced Wednesday afternoon what everyone on social media had already reported earlier in the day: Mike O'Shea is the team's newest head coach.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers hire Mike O'Shea, a 43-year-old former Toronto Argonaut and Hamilton Tiget-Cat, as the team's newest head coach. 1:51

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have hired Mike O'Shea as their newest head coach.

The 43-year-old from North Bay, Ont., said he's thrilled to make the move to Winnipeg.

"To come and take this job as head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers,  it is made very easy by the foundation, the backbone that the Bombers are starting with now, with Wade [Miller] and with Kyle [Walters]," O'Shea told reporters on Wednesday.

"They are creating a new culture of winning, and I'm just thrilled to be a part of that."

The football club made the news official on Wednesday afternoon, but it was widely known long before that.

Social media spilled the beans early in the day with many football insiders reporting that O'Shea was getting the job, making him the seventh Bombers head coach since 2004.

Former Bomber Doug Brown tweeted, "O'Shea is a coach to be excited about" and that "O'Shea has all the qualities you want in a head coach. Well respected, authoritative, ballsy, and a true leader."

O'Shea has four Grey Cup rings, including three as a player with the Toronto Argonauts (1996, 1997, 2004). He played 16 seasons as a linebacker in the CFL for the Argos and Hamilton Tiger-Cats from 1993 to 2008.

His fourth Grey Cup championship was as the Argos' assistant coach in 2012 He had been that team's special teams coordinator since 2010.

Bombers alumnus and CFL Hall of Famer Chris Walby played against O'Shea in the 1990s and said his former rival knows how to win both as a player and a coach.

"He's just an incredibly hard worker. He's very much a strategist,” Walby said. “He likes to make sure he has all his Xs and O's, and his I's dotted and his T's crossed. He goes in there with a great game plan."

Walby, who is thrilled the Bombers have chosen Canadians to fill their GM and head coach positions, called O'Shea a no-nonsense guy who won't tolerate big egos.

"I don't believe he's going to be one of those guys that comes in and tries to be everybody's best friend. I think he's going to come in there and realize this opportunity and say, 'You know what? This is my club now and we're going to do it my way.'"

The last time the Bombers had two Canadians in charge was in the mid-2000s with Brendan Taman and Jim Daley.

Before that, the duo of Paul Robson and Cal Murphy led the team to a Grey Cup championship in 1984.

The team has recently made a number of operations announcements, including naming Kyle Walters as the general manager, Wade Miller as president and CEO, and bringing on Danny McManus and Ted Goveia as assistant general managers.

The team cleaned out much of its head office this year, dumping GM Joe Mack and head coach Tim Burke, and accepting the resignation of CEO Garth Buchko. 

Bombers fans are welcoming the team's latest choice for head coach, including Ray Higham, who recalled O'Shea's playing days.

"I hated him. He destroyed us every time. He was a great middle linebacker. Wished he was on the Bombers," Higham said. "He has that intensity, and he'll bring that as a head coach."


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