Shivers still a Rider

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders booted Roy Shivers out the door this summer - but the former general manager hasn't cut his deep ties with the coaches or the players.

In fact, Shivers is still quietly talking to the coaching staff -- even giving them advice -- and has an airline ticket to Vancouver for Sunday's West Final between the Riders and the B.C. Lions.


"Those are my friends - Danny (Barrett) and Richie Hall," said Shivers of his former head coach and defensive co-ordinator.

"I talk to them every week.

"They ask me what I think."

And they'll be able to do it in person if their fired boss gets on a plane this morning in Nevada.

"But I don't want to be a distraction," said Shivers, who still hadn't decided as of yesterday if he was actually going to make the trek to Canada.

The 65-year-old grandfather -- who acts and talks like a fiery 40-year-old football guru in his prime - actually had a ticket booked to Calgary last weekend for the West semifinal but backed out because he was afraid the media spotlight would find him. But Barrett still found his old boss shortly after the upset victory over the Stampeders.

"He called me from the airport (last Sunday)," revealed Shivers.

Not surprisingly, the Arkansas native is absolutely thrilled with the sudden playoff success of the team he built and fine-tuned over his six and a half seasons in Regina. And like a proud father, he believes the players he brought together and the coaches he hired are headed for greatness this fall.

"I'm predicting a win against the Lions (this weekend) and a win in the Grey Cup," he stated.

"They have the best defence - and defence wins games in the playoffs."

While Barrett has developed a very solid working relationship with new general manager Eric Tillman, the head coach doesn't even attempt to hide from the fact he's still dealing with his fired GM.

"We talk about things in life," Barrett admitted.

And some players do the same thing with Shivers.

"Since (last weekend) I have talked with Jeremy O'Day, Fred Childress, Jackie Mitchell and Luc Mullinder," explained the colourful American.

In the midst of the emotional high Shivers is still riding on after last Sunday's stirring second-half comeback at McMahon Stadium, there is still the matter of Barrett's future in Regina.


Without a contract or an employment guarantee from Tillman for next season, one of the most popular questions in the CFL right now is: What will the Riders do with Barrett in the off-season?

"What I would like to think it is: What will Danny Barrett do with the Riders?" quipped Shivers.

"I'd like him to run the table (in the playoffs) and have some choices."

To run the table, the Riders need to clear their next hurdle in B.C. But talking in a fashion that still makes it seem like he's part of the organization, Shivers believes Saskatchewan's strength in the trenches will bring a fourth victory in five games against the first-place Leos.

"We match up really well," he said.

"We get to their quarterback and they can't get to our quarterback too much."

Shivers still cheering HIS team.

Rob Vanstone, The Leader-Post
Published: Friday, November 10, 2006

Disregard the oddsmakers. The good word from Las Vegas is that the Saskatchewan Roughriders are a solid bet to reach the Grey Cup.

"I'm hoping they go all the way,'' Roy Shivers says via telephone from Nevada, "and I think, with the way they're playing right now, they should.''

If Shivers' suspicions are correct, the Roughriders will dispose of the host B.C. Lions in Sunday's CFL West Division final en route to capturing the third championship in franchise history.

Such an outcome would create a delectable irony: Shivers' finest season as the Roughriders' general manager would be the one in which he was fired.

"Hey, this is my ballclub,'' says Shivers, who was deposed Aug. 21. "In my heart, I'm still a part of it. I think I should feel that way. I spent seven years with these guys.''

Shivers recruited all the players (with the exception of receiver Yo Murphy) and repeatedly endorsed his handpicked head coach, Danny Barrett, who survived the midseason upheaval.

"I've followed them every week since I've been gone,'' says Shivers, who particularly enjoyed Sunday's 30-21 victory over the Calgary Stampeders in the West semifinal. "I get every game on TV. I sat here and watched on Sunday and loved every minute of it, especially from the end of the second quarter on.''

Calgary led 21-5 until Matt Dominguez caught a touchdown pass with three seconds left before halftime. Saskatchewan would also score on the first offensive play of the second half, when Kenton Keith sprinted 76 yards for a major. Dominguez and Keith helped Saskatchewan score 25 unanswered points.

Meanwhile, back in Vegas, Shivers was flush with excitement.

"I still get nervous,'' he says. "I still get up and go to the bathroom every two or three minutes, because I'm rooting for them. That's my team.

"I still get up every chance I get, go to the restroom and relieve myself, and come back and sit down again -- and then I'm back in the restroom. I'm in their corner all the way ... all the way.''

Shivers was also in Barrett's corner. An intractable stance regarding the head coach led to the general manager being, uh, relieved of his duties.

Before the firing, some members of the Roughriders' hierarchy intimated to Shivers that they would like to see Barrett sacked. Shivers would not acquiesce, even when Saskatchewan's record descended to 3-5.

At that point, Shivers delivered a dressing-room dressing-down while standing on a table following a loss at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium. He candidly and caustically critiqued virtually everyone who wore green.

Saskatchewan won seven of its subsequent 11 games. He refuses to accept any credit for the resurgence, instead deferring to Barrett.

Barrett's job security has been the subject of unceasing speculation since Shivers was replaced by Eric Tillman. Barrett and Tillman enjoy a cordial coexistence, but the head coach's status will not be determined until after this rollercoaster season.

"Danny's family likes it in Regina, so I would believe he would like to stay, but it would be kind of hard to put aside everything that's happened to him, too, because he gave them ample warning (that re-signing him might not be easy) before we went to training camp when they wouldn't let me re-sign him,'' Shivers says. "I'd like to see him win it all and do what he wants to do. I'd like to see him in the catbird's seat for once.''

Barrett has yet to escape the hotseat. Shivers is not far removed from occupying the ejector seat, but he remains loyal to and upbeat about a team he frequently refers to as "we.''

"The way it played out, it gnaws at me, but I'm happy for the team,'' he says of the firing. "I'm happy for Danny and the rest of the coaches. Life's too short to be walking around mad and stuff.

"I'm involved in the politics now. I've been watching George Bush get his rear end kicked. I'm loving it.''

Now he hopes that the Roughriders' 2006 campaign concludes more auspiciously than that of the Republicans.

"I think they're the best team in the playoffs right now,'' declares Shivers, who is pondering whether to fly to Vancouver to take in Sunday's game.

"I hope they win it all and I hope the people in Regina rejoice in it.''

© The Leader-Post (Regina) 2006

Thanks...interesting articles! :thup:

Anybody check out Marty York's report (allegedly based on a phone interview conducted Wednesday or Thursday)? Shiv had nothing positive to say about most everything in that one, spouting racism was his doing in every chance he Marty York full of it, or is Shiv?? :wink:

Interesting articles, all of them.

To answer your question jm02, who knows. With Marty York, you never know if he finally got lucky and actually can write a column with an ounce of truth to it or not.

Maybe if Shivers repeats those comments to a reliable reporter, then maybe we will get the truth or not.

I have a question. If the Riders win it all, does Roy Shivers get a ring? I think he would deserve it more than Tillman, no disrespect... I think they both should get one.

How ironic would it be if Saskatchewan won the Grey Cup?

That's probably why Shivers told him. He knew he could go off and tell good ole Marty how he REALLY felt, knowing no one would believe it anyway!

The things in the York article sound pretty much like the kinds of things Roy would say.
He has never been shy to voice his opinion.
And certainly some of the attitudes and reactions to having a black GM and a black head coach are dead on.
I am not saying everybody in Sask. has such sentiments, but if you went to pubs, or clubs or were at any type of gathering, you always heard the jokes, comments, and slanders about how everybody on the team had to be black, and questioning that Szarka or Fantuz or whomever were not playing because they were white.
And the rumours that constantly circulate about the players--always the black kids--always! Especially KK.
When Roy says people blame him for the sinking of the Titanic, he ain't whistlin' dixie.

And absolutely it the case that the brass for the Riders saw Roy's attitude, the way he dressed as being a problem. Racism is alive and well in Regina, in Sask., in Canada. What makes anyone think it doesn't exist in the microcosm we call the Board of Directors for the Saskatchewan Roughriders?
Is Jim Hopson a racist?
I have no idea. But it was definately all about personalities and power that saw Roy get fired.

Anyway, if you ever get a chance to talk to Roy Shivers, he is an interesting guy and he'll talk your ear off if you let him.
And he is a good guy, and a straight shooter.
You don't need to agree with everything he says, but at least he will be honest with you.
Which at the end of the day was a huge factor in why he was fired.

Marty scooped a lot of reporters on this one! Believe havn't heard the last of this...particularly with the crap that has gone on in Montreal this week with the cops! A shame really! may be right Arius but I can't see how someone can twist being called 'arrogant and abrasive' into a racist slur....sounds like a cop-out to me to win sympathy votes...

Hey, a question just popped in my mind. Should the Riders win the Cup, would Shivers get a ring? Would he be entitled to it, or would that just depend on the Riders organisation's courtesy?

I know the Als said the Don's name would be on the Cup and he'd get his ring would they win it, but I don't know if its a team decision or part of the rules that someone who was there for this many games should get it.

shivers SHOULD get a ring, and should be invited to any cerimony that might follow a grey cup win...he built the roster, with the exception of Yo Murphy.



I know.. i had caps lock on by accident lol, sry about that

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Roy Shivers may soon discover the real cost of free speech.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders were making arrangements to absorb the expense of bringing their former general manager to the 2006 Grey Cup -- should the team ascend to the CFL's championship game -- in recognition of his contributions.

That idea will likely be squelched after the ever-outspoken Shivers slammed his successor, Eric Tillman, in Marty York's column on the Web site.

"He called me after he got hired and left me a message, saying he hoped I wasn't angry at him, or some (censored) like that,'' Shivers told York. "I just erased the message immediately, without listening to all of it.

"I've known him for a long time, and he's full of it. I know what he does and says behind the scenes. Joe Paopao (who coached the Ottawa Renegades when Tillman was that team's GM) and others have told me all about his ways. He leaves messages late at night, so you won't answer your phone, and then he can avoid confrontations that way. I don't trust him.''

Those comments, and others, sent Shivers up Tillman's spine when the on-line bombshell was detonated.

Tillman was quick to note that he had not called Shivers, but was planning to do so with an invitation that was contingent upon Saskatchewan defeating B.C. Lions in Sunday's West Division final.

"It's unfortunate,'' Tillman said on Friday. "I have on multiple occasions acknowledged Roy and his contributions. I just did it via Bob McCown's show (Prime Time Sports), which is broadcast across the country. I said that if we were fortunate enough to get to the Grey Cup, that much of the credit goes to Roy Shivers for the contributions he has made.

"The ultimate irony in all of this is I went to (president-CEO) Jim Hopson a few weeks ago -- and there are only a handful of people who know this -- and said, 'If we get to the Grey Cup, I would like for Roy to fly in as my guest and sit with me during the game because I felt that he deserved to be there to be acknowledged for his contributions.' ''

Is the offer still on the table?

"Next question,'' Tillman said.

The next stop for both parties in this dispute is Vancouver. Shivers, who is based in Las Vegas, plans to fly to B.C. this morning and attend Sunday's game.

"I'll be there until Monday or Tuesday,'' Shivers said Friday. "Then I'm going to go over to Winnipeg if they get to the Grey Cup.''

However, it now appears that Shivers will have to cover the costs of such an excursion. What if he happens to cross paths with Tillman along the way?

"I won't say nothing to him,'' Shivers said. "I never said nothing to him in the past. I don't even want to get into that. That's between he and I.

"I know what Eric's all about, so I don't have a problem. What is he going to say to me? He's not going to say (bleep) to me, because that's not him.''

Tillman had plenty to say about what Shivers had to say.

"I think it's incredibly unfortunate and unnecessary,'' the Riders' new GM said.

"I think it's well-documented that I have bent over backwards to make it clear to people in this organization that they didn't have to pick and choose sides -- that the collective good was the important thing and the success of this football team. Ultimately in life, all you can do is control what you can control. I think it's unfortunate. I think it's unfair to the football team. The focus deserves to be on the field.''

Head coach Danny Barrett -- who is caught in the middle of this imbroglio -- is striving to maintain that focus.

Barrett declined the invitation to weigh in on the discord between his old and new bosses. The comments by Shivers put Barrett in an awkward position. What of substance could he say without rankling either his mentor or the current GM?

"It's unfortunate that we're even having this discussion about us,'' Tillman said. "The conversation should be about our team and the opportunity we have to go to the Grey Cup. It's obscene that we're dealing with something this childish given the magnitude of the game and the opportunity that this franchise has and the impact that a win this Sunday would have.

"For there to be any bickering back and forth is totally devoid of any concept of the collective good. As such, I'm going to take the high road.''

And if Shivers chooses to follow along that road, it will be on his own nickel.

I don't think ironic would be the appropriate word. How about 'unlikely'?

...I dunno RLR, I've heard a lot of experts this week say they are really surprized at the 7.5 spread the bookies have given BC, could be closer than you think....should be fun....

....on the Shivers thing, what a doofus he has shown himself to be...he may have built a decent team and all but the guy is a liability....I sure hope we don't consider his services here in the off-season....probably shouldn't worry, he doesn't seem like the type of guy that would mix well with the likes of Hellard and Higgins......we're trying to get rid of foot-in-mouth disease here, adding Ol' Roy would only worsen it....

Yeah, one minute Roy says he doesnt want to be a distraction, and next thing you know, he opens his mouth like that. And I agree about the 7.5 spread. It seems kind of big...