Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce (#4) hands off to Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Fred Reid (#32) during first half CFL action on Sunday September 4, 2011 at Mosaic Stadium in Regina Saskatchewan. (CFL PHOTO - Derek Mortensen)
Good news comes in twos, the old saying goes, and Gavin Walls now has the concrete proof.
It was just last week Walls got a phone call from former Winnipeg Blue Bombers president Reg Low — the man who heads the Winnipeg Football Club’s Hall of Fame selection committee – detailing that he would be part of the induction class for 2022. And two days later his wife Lauren gave birth to their fifth child, Zander, who joins his brothers Tyrin (17), Bentley (9), Theo (7) and Makai (2).
“I was driving, and I saw an e-mail come in on my other phone and wondered who it was from,” said Walls in a chat with bluebombers.com. “I was stopped because of construction and when I called and Reg told me the news, well, I was quite ecstatic.
“It’s phenomenal news. And then we have another son a couple of days later. It’s been a crazy week. A good week.”
The 2022 class will be honoured at the annual Hall of Fame Game on October 8th when the Blue Bombers host the Edmonton Elks at Investors Group Field and then a few days later at the Blue Bombers Legacy Gala Dinner on October 11th.
Walls joined the Blue Bombers in 2005 after attending training camp with the Minnesota Vikings in 2004 and then a stint in NFL Europe with the Scottish Claymores.
He made a quick impression, as he was named the Canadian Football League’s Most Outstanding Rookie in 2005 and finished up his career tied for fourth on the club’s quarterback sack list with Elfrid Payton at 47, behind only Tyrone Jones (98), Tony Norman (59) and Doug Brown (52). Walls remained in Canada after his playing days and now is the executive general manager of the Moosehorn Co-op after also working in the oil and gas industry in Fort McMurray.
“When I got to Winnipeg there were already household names like Doug Brown and Tom Canada on the defensive line, so I was just trying to figure out where I could contribute,” said Walls. “And then as training camp goes along you start seeing less and less guys coming into the meeting rooms. I just kept saying my prayers.
“They had a lot of good players in that camp. But even to this day with work I try not to worry about competition – I just focus on what I need to do, what I need to improve on, and everything else just settles itself out.
“I have to give a lot of credit, especially in my first year, to Doug Brown,” added Walls with a laugh. “He’s a huge guy, and he would hug like, five offensive linemen with his huge wingspan and that made it easier for me.”
Reid, now the running backs coach with the Ottawa RedBlacks, was also recently delivered the Winnipeg Football Club Hall of Fame news by Reg Low.
“What’s so funny is my wife and I were having a conversation about this when we were on our bye week. She said, ‘do you think you’ll ever be in a hall of fame in the CFL?’ and honestly didn’t have an answer,” said Reid in a phone interview from Ottawa. “And then I get a call a few days later from Reg… it’s so crazy that it happened like that.
“I’m just so excited about all of this. So excited. My family is excited about it. It’s such a great accolade and accomplished. I feel very, very privileged to have an opportunity like this.”
Reid attended training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and had played Arena Football with the Mississippi Mudcats when a chance meeting with fellow Mississippi State alum Barrin Simpson – then Winnipeg’s middle linebacker — helped begin his career with the Blue Bombers.
“I saw Barrin in the weight room when I was back at Mississippi State just working out and he helped get things rolling,” said Reid. “To be honest with you, probably none of this would have been possible without that. He made everything happen by making a phone call to Brendan Taman (then the Blue Bombers GM), who is actually here in Ottawa with me now. They ended up signing me and the rest is history. I appreciate Barrin to this day for that.”
A look at the WFC Hall of Fame 2022 induction class:
PLAYER: FRED REID (2007-11)
- Reid joined the Blue Bombers in 2007 and became the feature back in 2008 when Charles Roberts was traded to the B.C. Lions.
- Reid led the club in rushing from 2008-11, including back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns with 1,371 yards in 2009 and 1,396 yards in 2010. His rushing total in 2010 led the entire Canadian Football League, while his 2009 numbers ranked him second to Calgary’s Joffrey Reynolds.
- Reid was an East Division All-Star in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and a CFL All-Star in 2010.
- He ranks seventh on the Bombers all-time rushing yardage list with 4,505 yards, behind Roberts (9,987), Leo Lewis (8,861), Willard Reaves (5,923), Jim Washington (5,736), Gerry James (5,541) and Andrew Harris (5,402).
- Reid holds the club’s single-game rushing record, as he galloped for 260 yards on 26 carries in a win over B.C. in Vancouver on August 21, 2009. That total is the third highest in CFL history (Ottawa’s Ron Stewart had 287 yards in 1960; Saskatchewan’s George Reed had 268 yards in a game in 1965).
GAVIN WALLS (2005-09)
- Led the Blue Bombers in quarterback sacks in his first season with 12 and was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie.
- Had three seasons of double-digit sack totals with the Blue Bombers, registering 12 in 2005, 11 in 2006 and 10 in 2008.
- His 47 career quarterback sacks ties him with Elfrid Payton for fourth all-time in Blue Bombers history, behind only Tyrone Jones (98), Tony Norman (59) and Doug Brown (52).
- Walls was a three-time divisional all-star (2005, 2006, 2008) and in addition to being named the team’s Most Outstanding Rookie Player in 2005, was named the club’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player that year.
LYNN BISHOP (Builder)
- Joined the Winnipeg Football Club Board of Directors in 1992 and became part of the Executive Committee a year later.
- He became the WFC President in 1996 amid tough financial times for the club and the CFL. Bishop helped launch the ‘Third and Long’ business plan that pushed for a bigger season-ticket base while implementing a refinancing plan.
- The club also began several capital projects at Canad Inns Stadium under his watch, including the construction of new administration and player facilities, dressing room improvements. theatre-type seating, the installation of an electronic scoreboard, new artificial turf, and a new Bomber store.