Back to Basics: O’Shea returns to University of Guelph

GUELPH — On his walk to the football field at the University of Guelph this week, Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea found himself taking a trip down memory lane.

O’Shea was a member of the Guelph Gryphons (1989-1992) and is now back at the place he once called home as his team stayed East between their contest against the Tiger-Cats last weekend and the matchup against the Argonauts on Thursday night.

“Well, we walk here (to the field) every day from the hotel,” the Bombers bench boss told members of the media after practice on Monday. “So I take a different path and walk through some areas that you know I used to frequent, I guess it’s it’s nice. It’s a welcome distraction. You know, when you’re spending 15 or 20 minutes walking to and from work every day, it’s it’s a nice way to start the day in a nice way to finish.

“But once we’re in here, it’s the same business, right?”


The focus is, of course, on his 5-1 Bombers taking on the winless Argonauts at BMO Field this week. The former linebacker doesn’t think too much about his time playing at Guelph. The team record he holds for most career sacks with 19 or his total career tackles (310, good for fourth in school history) aren’t the things that O’Shea is worried about just a few days before game day.

“I don’t really, really haven’t really thought about playing. You know, that’s a long, long time ago,” he said. “You know, I did share this with my son how awesome it was, how great it is to be a part of something when you’re at university. You know, I don’t know if it matters, what school or what team.

“I mean, I love the University of Guelph and my time here. I think for you know, most young athletes, if they get a chance to go to university and be on a team, they’ve got a great start. I mean, it’s just something fantastic job being a part of something bigger at the university.”

The head coach isn’t the only member of the Blue Bombers organization that has a connection to the University.

General manager Kyle Walters was a player as well as a coach for the Gryphons. After his university playing career, Walters became the team’s defensive coordinator from 2004-2005 and then served as the team’s head coach from 2006-2009.