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Former Blue Bombers coach Dave Ritchie passes away at 85, leaving a lasting legacy – Winnipeg |



Former coach for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Dave Ritchie, has passed away at the age of 85, leaving behind a lasting legacy.

“Dave Ritchie was a respected leader during his days as Blue Bombers head coach and in his other coaching positions across the Canadian Football League, in the NCAA and in Europe,” said Blue Bombers president & CEO Wade Miller.

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“He had a passion for his players and his teams and led both to great success. The Winnipeg Football Club offers our deepest sympathies to his wife Sharon, Dave’s family, and his many friends.”

Ritchie had two stints with the team after initially joining in 1990 and working under Mike Riley as a defensive line and special teams coach. He contributed to the Grey Cup championship that year.

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Following the 1991 season, he left but returned in 1999 as the head coach.

Former voice for the Bombers Bob Irving took to social media after the announcement of Ritchie’s death saying he was ‘saddened’ to hear about his passing.

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Under Ritchie’s leadership from 1999 to 2004, the Bombers underwent a remarkable transformation and progressed from a 3-15 record before he arrived in 1998 to achieving a 6-12 record.

The Bombers achieved a 7-10-1 record in 2000 and secured a spot in the East Final, achieving a remarkable 14-4 record and clinching the divisional championship.

Ritchie’s leadership earned him the title of CFL’s Coach of the Year in 2001.

Commissioner of the CFL Randy Ambroise says Ritchie was a ‘truly inspiring human being’ in a social media post on Saturday.

During his tenure, the team achieved a record 52 wins, placing him fourth in terms of coaching victories in the club’s history, following Bud Grant, Mike O’Shea, and Cal Murphy.

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Additionally, Ritchie coached the B.C. Lions from 1993 to 1995, leading them to a Grey Cup victory in 1994.

He later coached the Montreal Alouettes from 1997 to 1998, retiring with a total of 108 career wins, which ranks seventh in CFL history.

Lastly, he was inducted into the Winnipeg Football Club Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2022.

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