On December 2nd the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks made official who their next head coach will be. Leading up to the decision, it had been announced that they talked to three candidates. The list included defensive coordinators Mark Washington (Hamilton), Corey Mace (Toronto) and an in house special teams coordinator in Bob Dyce. For those within the organization in Ottawa, there was so much respect for all three candidates, as each of them have put so much work into their careers to get to this point, but knowing what Bob Dyce has accomplished thus far, and what he has done for the Redblacks, as well as the city of Ottawa it was a no brainer to hire Bob Dyce as the Redblacks’ third head coach in franchise history.
Dyce came to Ottawa in 2016 as the special teams coordinator following 13 seasons spent with both the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders as an assistant coach.
In 2016 he won the Grey Cup with the Redblacks, and during the 6 seasons he spent as the Ottawa Redblacks’ special teams coordinator he has, time after time, proven himself as one of the best special teams coaches in the CFL. From the fantastic kicking unit he’s had over the years spread between players like Chris Milo, Brett Maher, Richie Leone and Lewis Ward, all the way through the return teams with big play makers in guys like Jamill Smith, Tristan Jackson, Diontae Spencer and DeVonte Dedmon, all of the players he has coached, and their success portrays perfectly the kind of success Dyce has had as a coach.
Now, being the head coach of the Ottawa Redblacks, Dyce says, “it feels great!” about the new title. He explained, “I’m thankful for this opportunity. Anytime you get an opportunity to lead an organization, or be the face of the organization, you take great pride in that. I’m blessed because I know a lot of the people here and I know how much it means to them so I’m very excited to see what the future brings in this new role and new position.”
Being rewarded this new opportunity, and being named the next head coach of the Ottawa Redblacks, Bob Dyce has been doing a lot of reflecting on his past, and how far he has come. During his press conference on Friday you could tell how much the opportunity means to not only himself but everyone that has been a part of his journey. One name that he mentioned, and was one of many people he thanked to open the press conference was his high school basketball coach, Brian Thompson who left a big impact on Dyce from the coaching side of things. In a one on one interview with JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic following the press conference, Dyce told Zlomislic. “its really how he allowed us to be ourselves,” why Thompson made an impact on him at a young age. He explained,“I was never the best student growing up, and I was never the best kid, but he allowed me to be me and thats what allowed me to be successful. I didn’t have to change who I am or who I was and not meant a lot and showed me there’s different ways in leadership, you don’t always have to squeeze people down, sometimes when you open them up, it allows them to flourish more and I’ve always taken that to heart from Brian and I’m trying to be the same way as a coach.” On the basketball court, Dyce said, “(Brian) didn’t get mad when we practiced if we swore, got mad at him or called each other out. He just let us play and let our competitive juices flow and that was very eye opening for me.”
His basketball coach, and the stories he has from his upbringing in sports have been on the back of Dyce’s mind for the last 24 hours as he has been awarded one of the biggest accomplishments of his professional coaching career, but what else has been on his mind is how he got started in coaching.
When Zlomislic was interviewing Dyce off to the side following the press conference, he asked about some moments that he will remember from his coaching career that goes beyond just the football field. The story he brought up was one on how he began his coaching career. “before I started coaching in the CFL, I was coaching at the University of Manitoba.” he told Zlomislic, “at the time there was no internet, so to become a better coach, and to learn more, you had to talk to coaches, and go take a look at coaching for yourself to find different ways to be a better coach, so I used to go to Bombers practices all the time. I was a sales rep at the time so I’d be in a suit all day and I’d go to Bombers practice to watch and take notes to learn and be a better coach myself.”
“When I eventually became a guest coach with the Bombers and the next year was on the staff, I remember Milt (Stegall) came up to me once and said ‘you know I used to wonder who that black guy was taking notes in a suit about football at our practices.’ and I was just thinking about that last night, going from that point (the beginning) to this point as the head coach of a CFL team.”