On December 2nd, the CFL welcomed in a new head coach when the Ottawa Redblacks announced that they hired Bob Dyce for the job. Not only did they welcome just any new head coach, but they welcomed in one of the most loved coaches in the league into a large role.
He came to Ottawa in 2016 and has spent the last 7 years as the Redblacks’ special teams coordinator. While he has had a lot of success as the special teams coordinator, most recently with Lewis Ward breaking a record for consecutive field goals made, and DeVonte Dedmon returning 5 kicks for a touchdown in just 15 games, but also looking back at the other players he’s coached in Ottawa, both Brett Maher and Diontae Spencer now call the NFL home. Dyce’s special teams unit has clearly been successful on the field. The numbers and the film speak for themselves, but a major reason for the success on the field comes from his success off of the field in the locker room. Over the last 7 years, while Dyce has been known for what he’s accomplished with the Redblacks on the football field, he has gained the trust, and has been loved by the players in the locker room at TD Place.
When he was first announced as the Redblacks interim head coach in October, defensive back Sherrod Baltimore told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic, “we love coach Dyce. He’s more than just a coach to us. He’s fixed my scooter breaks before, he’s given us life lessons, he’s like an uncle, father and a coach. I’ve got nothing but love for him. He’s a very smart coach, he knows what he’s doing, and he knows exactly what’s going on on the field, great attention to details and he has high expectations for us. I’m happy for him and his family.”
Like Baltimore, two players that also love Bob Dyce would be both Richie Leone and Lewis Ward, who have spent a lot of time with Dyce over the last few seasons.
This week it was announced that both of them would be back in Ottawa for the 2023 season and on.
As a place kicker, Lewis Ward was 49 of 57 in 2022 with a season long of 51 yards. Over his career, spread out between 68 regular season games he has a 88.7% field goal percentage, having missed just 22 field goals on a total 195 attempts in 4 seasons. Richie Leone has had quite the success as well in the capital as a punter. He has been a CFL league wide all-star twice in his four seasons in Ottawa, while being named an east all-star three times, missing out just once in the 2022. Signing with Ottawa, Leone had told the media, “there will be plenty to cheer on the banks of the Rideau Canal in 2023.”
Alongside both Leone and Ward, the Redblacks also re-signed both Marco Dubois and Ty Cranston who have also been seen heavily on special teams.
As the off-season continues, watch Dyce and the Redblacks continue to prioritize the special teams unit, and other important pieces with high hopes for the 2023 CFL season in Ottawa.