RIP Dave Ritchie – 1938-2024

It is with great sadness that we report report the passing of legendary Canadian Football League head coach Dave Ritchie.

Tributes have poured in from around the world as news of the 85 year old Grey Cup winner has spread. Ritchie, who was the head coach of the B.C. Lions for their iconic 1994 Grey Cup victory over the Baltimore Stallions and was part of the coaching staff of the 2006 Grey Cup winning BC Lions and also of the Winnipeg Blue Bomber’s 1990 championship team, died Saturday.

A native of New Bedford, Mass., he spent 11 of his 22 CFL seasons as a head coach with B.C. (1993-95), Montreal (1997-98) and Winnipeg. He won 108-of-187 career regular-season games to stand seventh all-time.

Ritchie amassed a 52-41-1 regular-season record as a head coach with Winnipeg (1999-2004). That left him fourth overall in club history behind Bud Grant (102), current head coach Mike O’Shea (96) and Cal Murphy (86).

But it was during Ritchie’s tenure as B.C.’s head coach that his club united Canada. He had taken over a team that went 3-15 in 1992 and led them to the Grey Cup Game two years later. Playing in front of a hometown crowd of 60,000 in BC Place Stadium, the Lions dispatched Baltimore 26-23 in the 82nd Grey Cup on Lui Passaglia’s game-ending 38-yard field goal capping the first championship ever in pro football to feature a U.S.-Canada matchup.

In addition to his CFL exploits, the University of Cincinnati alum spent time as an assistant with his alma mater as a young man. He enjoyed coaching stints with Brown University and Fairmont State, where he went 35-13-3 as head coach from 1978 to 1982.

Dave Ritchie guiding Zurich Renegades, June 2012

Ritchie also made his mark in Europe. He was co-head coach of the Milano Seamen in 1989 when they won the Italian title and then took over the Zurich Renegades in the Swiss League in 2011 and led them into the playoffs in 2012.

Excerpts from Canadian Press, TSN and 3 Down Nation.


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