Both head coaches in the 109th Grey Cup are no strangers to the festivities that come with the big game even before they arrived to Regina.
Mike O’Shea was a three time Grey Cup champion and was named to the all time Argos team, but is now the head coach for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who are looking for their third straight Grey Cup on Sunday.
Ryan Dinwiddie made his debut in the CFL back in 2007 Grey Cup, filling in for injured Kevin Glenn, as the Bombers were defeated by the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Toronto. After his playing career came to an end, the former quarterback stopped in Montreal and Calgary before winding up as the man who now leads the Toronto Argonauts.
On Wednesday morning, both O’Shea and Dinwiddie took part in the Grey Cup head coaches news conference.
Looking back at the 2007 Grey Cup, the former Bombers quarterback looked back at the game as a missed opportunity.
“I think it was unfortunate we couldn’t bring a Grey Cup back to Winnipeg, I really wanted to be one of the first guys to do it, unfortunately Mike was the guy who got it done.”
Dinwiddie added he doesn’t use stories of his past to motivate his team as he believed his playing days were too long ago.
There’s a huge amount of respect between the two Grey Cup coaches, that was born when both competed against each other as players.
“He’s a smart player, physical player, great leader, you can see it on the defence side.” said Dinwiddie. He also noted that his counterpart has established a new pedigree across the league.
“In years prior I think Calgary is the model everybody wanted to follow and now I think its Winnipeg.”
O’Shea feels strong rapport with Dinwiddie and the rest of the head coaches in the CFL.
“Because there’s nine teams and nine head coaches, there’s you know a chance to lean on guys and communicate with them it’s very professional and when you need something you don’t hesitate to ask. ”
O’Shea had two stints with the Argos (1996-99, 2001-08) During his time as a member of the double blue, the former linebacker said that the biggest bond that he formed was the people in the organization.
“It’s about the guys you played with, right from ownership to the people involved, there’s guys still in there like Pinball (Clemons) Danny Webb, that I have a huge history with, you care about those guys and you never stop caring about those guys because you share so many good memories and some tough memories. ”
“I think you always have a sense of loyalty and fondness towards to the people that are still there.”
Dinwiddie also keeps connection to the Blue Bombers alive as he mentioned that he stays in communication with former teammate, Glenn, who currently works with the team’s quarterbacks.
In term’s of future plans, coaching is something that Dinwiddie plans on doing until he is 70, if possible. The response was quite different from O’Shea when asked if he planned coaching until he’s 70.
“No I don’t know, I’m not going to see 70.”