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:
- Bud Grant .647 reg. season winning %; amazing .765 in post-season
- Cal Murphy .625 reg. season winning %.
- Dave Ritchie
- Ray Jauch
- 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.