Mike O'Shea's lifetime ranking as a Bomber coach

This O’Shea fella, now into his 5th year as bomber coach & overseer was in quite the snit last nite on Bulldog Bob Irving’s CJOB coach’s show. He was trying to prove to the majority of callers that he’s a great coach - just the refs, bad hands, poor QB-ing, etc. let him down.

Lets look at the pantheon of bomber coaches over the last 60 years. The 3 best were Bud Grant (the best), Cal Murphy (reluctant to continue coaching after reaching a certain age) and Mike Riley (son of Bud)

The next tier would be guys like Ray Jauch, Jim Spavital, Dave Ritchie, Paul LaPolice . . . . all reaching playoff status in shorter order than Busker O’Shea . . . . Spavital got the team to the 1972 Western final, up 21-7 at the half vs. Ron Lancaster and his Rat-Riders. Classic bomber collapse in the 2nd half - Lancaster assumed control of the game, Spavital imploded and the rest is history - Regina lost to rookie QB Chuck Ealey and the Ti-Cats in the Grey Cup.

After that the bomber landscape has been littered with a wide assortment of hobos, clock-watchers, salary-inhalers, buskers, braggarts & dwarves.

Lets see if I can remember some of these top of mind:

Jeff Reinbold, Mike “Maggot” Kelly, Bud Riley, Joe Zaleski (took over the program after Bud Grant bolted for the NFL), Allie Sherman, Tim “Sodbuster” Burke, Mike O’Shea. Did I forget anyone who wasn’t a full-timer?

O’Shea for my money is the best of the hobo group. Bud Riley had a stud QB in Dieter Brock and yet couldn’t coax enough wins out of Brock’s arm. Kelly & Reinbold were two weeds from the same cement crack - braggadocious & vile individuals who actually turned fans off and almost bankrupted the program. Bud Riley was just a dullard who didn’t know the word motivation actually existed - but at least he gave us his boy, Mike Riley.

So O’Shea got the team to a couple playoff games but his career winning percentage is still fairly miserable. His stubbornness is now legendary amongst CFL fans - not just Bomber fans. His inability to recruit strong assistants also seems bedeviling.
Has great knowledge of CFL rules and trick plays but overall he’s a weak tactical coach who consistently selects under-achieving assistants.

NOTES: Grant was the longest-serving Bomber coach at 10 years, 2nd longest probably Murphy in variation with coaching & GM duties, 3rd may have been either Dave Ritchie or Jauch. 5 years under his belt - I suspect O’Shea is rapidly moving into the #3 position on the longevity chart. However, O’Shea’s longevity is rather forced; the CEO wants continuity - well, he’s got it.

Some guesses on years served by other bomber coaches:

Reinbold - 1.5 years
Kelly - 1 year
Doug Berry - 3 yrs
Burke - 1 year
Plop - 2.5 years
Bud Riley - 3 years
Jauch - 3 years
Spavital - 3 years
Zaleski - 2 years

All white, all the bottom-feeders were coaching hobos with little to no success in pro football before arriving in Winnipeg. Most hired because others knew Winnipeg was known as the place where coaching careers go to die. Still is, apparently.

Most of the studleys who infected the Winnipeg coaching scene were so inept they either found Wpg. the end of the road or found jobs as floor-sweeps or fry cooks with other teams.

Not sure - I think Spavital may have coached in Sask’n for a couple years when the Riders were even worse than the bombers; Bud Riley just kicked around for a few years before becoming a coffee shop pest down south. Zaleski was not welcome anywhere. Mike Riley had a great career down south in U.S. colleges and even a short stint as San Diego Chargers head coach.
Bud Grant with 4, Cal Murphy with 3 and Mike Riley with 1 were the only bomber coaches to win Grey Cups in the modern era (1956-current)

Somebody else can post up the overall winning percentages of bomber head coaches in the last 60 years but I suspect the list would look something like this:

  1. Bud Grant .647 reg. season winning %; amazing .765 in post-season
  2. Cal Murphy .625 reg. season winning %.
  3. Dave Ritchie
  4. Ray Jauch
  5. Doug Berry .509

Those would be the only ones with .500 or better records. Of the approx. 11 bomber head coaches since 1956 I suspect O’Shea’s winning percentage would be in the #7 or #8 spot.

Hard to argue with that synopsis, Lyle....The only thing that could temper the criticism of O'Shea and some other losing coaches is in what state did they inherit the team. Not making excuses, we should have had more playoff success in the last five years, without a doubt. I don't know if cleaning the cupboard now will be a benefit. If the result at years's end is similar to previous years, then start looking around.

Sidenote - O'Shea's career winning percentage now stands at a very unimpressive .480 in regular season play; .000 for post-season (two trips to the well)

Not suggesting anything major be done in the regular season (unless things completely implode next 3 games with bombers getting rocked pillar to post) other than Richie Hall being re-evaluated at the 6 game mark (1/3 thru the season)

O'Shea now has an immunity chalice to flaunt over Winnipeg media and his critics w/ a 3 year no-cut contract. He'd have to go 9-4 in his last 13 games of season to finish above .500 career-wise. That's probably not a smart bet, btw!

If the bombers miss the playoffs then O'Shea should be on the block and so should every other member of coaching, management and executive.

But in reality, if Mike manages to beg for his job and stay in Winnipeg for another 2 or 3 years - I see more of the same - near .500 play with strange and sometimes implausible coaching decisions, poor game management, stubbornness when itcomes to assistants and special-teams, etc. Certainly no playoff wins unless a team lays down for us.

Lyle, the crowds are dwindling.
WAD is papering the house to get to an announced 25k.
Its not there.
The "profit on operations" scam continues.
The busing costs just go up.
Diesel buses cost more.
The lawsuits remain, moving slowly but moving.
No secondary revenue to speak of.
Pallister can't let this slide while squeezing health and education. The only one safe is Chipman and his 90/10 shark club, he took us to the semi's.
WAD is going to need a Trumpian mis-direction to appease just some of us.
He can't afford to punt anyone on a deal with gas still in the tank, he's cornered.
The Pudge has gotta be sweating...

I don't think Chipman & his billionaire buddy from Tyranna (Dave Thompson) have made any moves for the bombers and their 32,000 to 38,000 facility!

However, once Wad walks into Pallister's office with a negative financial report and need for additional injected capital to tide over til the next crisis - THE GIG IS UP!

Pallister will simply ask Wad if he's got any other alternatives for keeping the project running - and Wad will simply say NO - we'll try to fester up more tickets, more sales, more fans, more this 'n that, etc. Pallister will simply make his allotted phone call - to Mark Chipman and ask for an assessment - Chipman will see nearly (or slightly over) 200 million in accumulated debt plus mounting interest charges and say that recovering this money and paying back within a decent timeframe is nigh on impossible.

Pallister will go into his salesman's close and ask Chipman for a suggested offer, no matter how outlandish.

Chipman, if the form chart holds may offer Wad & his current set-up around 50 million to relieve Miller of his responsibilities but the catch is - 30 million goes into stadium repayment (province) - 20 million goes into football ops and the province eats the balance of around 150 million less whatever paltry amounts they can redeem via lawsuits.

That's my vision of the sad end to this despicable legacy.

But for now, Miller still has a few million in reserves despite dwindling crowds. He'll fight like the dickens to keep the thing together - especially because he's King Leer in all of this - inhaling a huge annual salary (spec. $350k to $425k).

But Chipman might bite as a public service and getting a 30,000+ facility virtually scot free - - - - a junior pro sports operation (bombers) and other ancillary benefits (possibly shark club on the premises or nearby). . . .

It will be 90% bottom line and 10% public service but the current Wad Miller, 2 Dixie cups and a thread model is past its best before. The heat is on Miller - but nothing happens til a major ask is required (1 to 2 years)

make that T'ranna

Would not a good start then be to actually look at the team's record? Michael O'Shea took over the coaching reins in 2014:

2012 6-12
2013 3-15

2014 7-11
2015 5-13
2016 11-7
2017 12-6
2018 2-3

So under Mike O'Shea the team has in general progressed (although the way last weekend's game against the Lions was lost was particularly infuriating).

For whatever reason though some fans are constantly negative. It's as if they're not aware of the bleak mathematics of sport. The Blue Bombers play a very good highly motivated team every week and it's a zero sum game. Whenever one team wins, the other loses. And there's only one champion at the end of the year. With nine teams in the CFL, if the Blue Bombers win the Grey Cup by 2020, Michael O'Shea will have done an above average job.


Fair to judge O'Shea after inheriting a veritable mess from Skooter, Drowsy Joe & Lyle Bauer. The team was fully infested with bads at all levels including its board.

The sad fact is that critical analysis is almost always interpreted as negativity - albeit mostly by lemmings.

If you are critically analytical about sports you point out the negative, the positives and the zero sums.

Fact is - since 1990 - last Winnipeg Grey Cup win under Mike Riley the team has only reached the big game 3 times - once w/ Dave Ritchie (Doug Brown & Milt had solid chances to get their GC rings), once w/ Doogeyman Berry (Kevin Glenn got injured in the eastern final and the bombers went into the Cup without a game-tested QB, the kid's name was Blue-Eyes Dinwiddie and Berry forgot the cardinal rule of running with a inexperienced QB, keep the game plan simple, plan for 2 and outs but retain possession and let your defense try to win the game - bombers had a good defense but Berry let Dinwiddie run some atrociously complex plays vs. arch-nems Sask'n
Finally, Plop got the team to a GC - but simply weren't competitive in the big game vs. BC. Out-coached, out-played, out-kicked, out-personnelled. The Wadzilla era has yet to yield even a western final appearance!!!

fact check : it's worse than that Lyle.
5 straight GC losses, not 3.
you're forgetting 92-93.

All true, but this thread is about Mike O'Shea as coach and he can neither get credit for those previous Grey Cup appearances nor can he be blamed for the losses.


I am not wearing blue shades when it comes to judging O'Shea, I put that last loss fully on him but if we can give due to a player when he is injured then we must look at the injuries to a team when judging coaches. We've had our fair share and that can't be blamed on O'Shea either. Bottom line with me is this team should be better after 5 years. The team is better but O'Shea is still making the same stupid mistakes he made when he first got here. I really don't want to see him canned and then go to another team and win the Cup. I say give him this year and that's it, unless he wins the GC.

…...IF Mike ZERO loses the next 2 through the kind of coaching we've seen up until now...especially the B.C. bull$hit...then his arse should be on the line...I'm sick and tired of hearing people make excuses for this guy...He was a great player, but after 5 years of nothing with this club, I for one have had my fill, and think he's never going to be a Cup winner as a head coach and it's time to move on...Sure the players luv him...BUT has that resulted in any type of success on the field...He has a buddy in Walters and Miller and that's most likely the only reason he's still around...He can't or won't make tough decisions...*see the retaining of a bad D coordinator...Most likely because he has infinite loyalty to players and coaches that have been around for awhile...Even though that loyalty is going to cause the ship to run aground ...he persists...Well IF this ship heads for the bottom because of a poor guy running it into the rocks...then that 'said guy' should be prepared to go down with it...
…..I was so bloody mad after that B.C. game I couldn't even bring myself to post...Packed up the wife and dog and headed for the cottage for a couple of days to ponder things...I hope O'Shea and the gang can put things together in the next few games....cuz a lot of people are starting to see a familiar pattern of losing due to incompetence ...AND a lot of guys like me might find the cottage a better place to be than watch anymore Bomber futility

Man, u sound even more despondent than I do. However, I no longer get that despondent because I realize what kind of under-whelming wimpy organization we have in the Wpg. Football Club. . . . and the outlook isn't very good

Anyone with half a football brain could tell that both O'Shea & Walters were panic hires. Walters was an itinerant assistant to Joe Mack, a special teams assistant and a scrap-heap player in the CFL. O'Shea was a legendary dirty player with Toronto & Hamilton, a college legend who barely had more than a couple years experience as a special teams coach in TO.

However the bomber program was teetering on the edge of insanity. Lapolice had been fired, a mope named Timbo Burke had been installed as coach, Drowsy Joe Mack, a distant memory as a southern bird dog for Cal Murphy in the mid 80s was hired without references. To top it off the bombers hired a vain and devoid of experience CEO in Bob Irving's former boss, Hollywood Garth Buchko, a radio time salesman.

So a toy bulldog like Wad Miller with a Tom Hanks kinda GM in Ky Walters and the Mad Dog, Michael O'Shea looked great - but only in comparison w/ Burke, Mack & Buchko (plus the also-departed Lyle Bauer)

The new stadium, free rent, government subsidies and amazing support in terms of commercial sponsorship and local gates gave Miller the necessary financial support to boost up recruitment, coaching, scouting, player depth and the like. The improvement came - but improving over zero wasn't hard.

The next step appears impossible under the current regime. Walters isn't really hitting the right notes as GM. The Faith Ekakitie 1st pick disaster turned me off completely - then Geoff Gray an NFL favourite did double the Ekakitie.

Sam Hurl? C'mon man. What you thinkin' Willis? Adarius Bowman? Another broke down hobo?

No real deep threats for Nichols. And Nichols, the $450,000 QB appears playing at a $50,000 level.

Let alone allowing Richie Hall to survive as defensive coordinator.

Now, Miller forced into a corner has to lie about crowd size in order to pepper the public with appeals of support. His leadership style isn't much to speak about - and with a green GM and brain-farting head coach he's in trouble - or will soon be?

could be a critical breakdown season - real possibility of a 5-13 or 6-12 season looms large. . . . . .can't even make the eastern crossover with that kinda record, can ya?

In spite of all of the above, I'm still cheering for them.

….I'm still pulling for the players too Dan.....BUT I don't have to or want to cheer for the current administration that has shown very little in 5 years...IF we can't get it together against T.O. ...the natives will be getting restless seeing us flirting with the basement...I hope the hell they prove me completely wrong but as of the B.C. game on the coast.....I dunno

I believe the Official Panic Button of Bomber Fans will be in mass demand; should the bombers get themselves slaughtered up by the Argos Saturday + they can't return the favour the following week in Winnipeg, falling at the hands of the Argos two straight . . .

That puts the bomber record at 2-5, and basically the trail pony in a 3-way chase for 3rd or 4th in the western conference.

Even the wild card might become a fantasy - no question 7 wins, possibly 8 will grab the wild card. . . . . but that means the bombers will have to win 5, perhaps 6 games just to get to that spot - and hope they can slither by the other western bottom-feeder.

If that's what it comes down to - can't blame the majority of fans from panicking. Also don't mind the lemmings anymore - they're like the Trump core down south - no matter what you do to them they stay loyal. Bombers need a loyal base because they've insulted a ton of fans with their erratic work ethic and accomplishments over the last 28 years!

Why do I get the distinct impression that no matter who is in charge of this team, you will find fault with ?

You insist on insulting loyal fans by calling them lemmings. Well you are the polar opposite of the lemmings, always negative. Even though I love the character, you sorta remind me of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. "Alllright..if I have to." " I knew it would be bad." " This is not gonna turn out good. " You know, Eeyore the ass, always negative. At least Eeyore is funny.

If the Bombers win the GC this year, I hope they sign O'Shea to a multi year contract and we become a dynasty. If we don't win, it's time to unload.

Going to the game this afternoon. Whoo Hoo. Look for me in the stands. ;D

Funny little world!

Mike O'Shea (aka Sargeant Sniff) is already booked to a multi-year contract. Same as Gomer Kyle!

So if they win the GC this year - they'll get Putinesque "Lifetime Contracts".

I'd say they're around 80-1 to win the Cup; 65-1 to get to the dance; 50-1 to get to the western final; 40-1 to get to eastern final; 25-1 to get to western semi; 20-1 to get to eastern semi.

…..I hope you're wearing your Bomber gear Dan so I can pick you out....You might be the only one there amongst all of the seats disguised as Argo fans...lol

….You probably know this Dan... but Winnie the Pooh is a bear named after Winnipeg by a soldier from the Peg during the war...The vet. named him after the city and the books took off from there....Now there's a little bit of local history a lot of people know nothing about or have forgotten :wink:

And the Democrats down south are different? Don't they typically like tariffs, taxes and regulations, unless of course Donald Trump or another Republican is the one to bring forth the proposal?


Incidentally you're supposed to keep political comments to yourself on this forum.