February 18, 2017

Number 77

Neill Armstrong (also 76, 80) WR, DB 1951, 1953-54
Al Bruno WR 1955-56
Norm Hill (also 29) E 1951-53
Bob LaRose (also 71) WR, DB 1970-76
Stan Mikawos (also 75) DT 1982-96
Jon Oosterhuis DT 2002-10
Ernie Pitts (also 10) WR, DB 1957-69
Jim Soltau E 1955
Jim Spavital FB 1951

Winnipeg Football Club Hall of Famers:

  • Ernie Pitts (1986)
  • Stan Mikawos (2000)


CFL All-Stars:

  • Bob LaRose (1971)

Division All-Stars:

  • Neill Armstrong (1951, 1953
  • Bob LaRose (1971)
  • Stan Mikawos (1993)
  • Ernie Pitts (1957, 1959, 1960, 1965, 1966, 1968)


Bomber Team Awards:

  • Most Outstanding Canadian – Bob LaRose, 1971
  • Ed Kotowich Good Guy Award – Jon Oosterhuis, 2009


He Wore It Well: Ernie Pitts, WR, DB, 1957-69

Ernie ‘Zazu’ Pitts came to the Bombers in 1957 after Bud Grant received a tip from a scout. He spent 13 years in Winnipeg and retired as the team’s all time leading receiver with 337 receptions for 5,525 yards and 54 touchdowns while winning four Grey Cups. He had 16 touchdowns in 1959, the fourth-highest total in club history. A member of the Winnipeg Football Club’s Hall of Fame, Pitts wasn’t just a solid receiver – he was a three-time West Division all-star – in 1965 he switched to defensive back and was, again, a three-time all-star.

Pitts led the Bombers in receiving in 1957, 1959, 1960, 1962 and 1964 and then led the team in interceptions in 1968 and 1969. Pitts moved to the B.C. Lions in 1970, but his career was cut short by when he was shot by his estranged wife.


Interesting fact about the former Bombers who wore the #77 – three of them became CFL head coaches:

  • Al Bruno played for the Bombers in 1955-56 and then turned his attention to coaching. He coached in Ottawa and Hamilton before becoming the Tiger-Cats head coach in 1983 and guiding them to the 1986 Grey Cup.
  • Jim Spavital played for the Bombers in 1951 and after his retirement turned to coaching. In 1970 he was named the Bombers head coach and posted a 23-39-2 record in four years, including two playoff appearances. He would also coach in Calgary and Saskatchewan.
  • We told you of Neill Armstrong’s accomplishments at the #76, but he would also become a head coach in the CFL, with the Edmonton Eskimos.



We singled out Stan Mikawos at #75, the number he wore for the first half of his career.