March 9, 2024

Blue Bombers mourn the passing of Dave Ritchie

It is with great sadness that the Winnipeg Football Club has learned of the passing of former Blue Bombers coach Dave Ritchie today at the age of 85.

“Dave Ritchie was a respected leader during his days as Blue Bombers head coach and in his other coaching positions across the Canadian Football League, in the NCAA and in Europe,” said Blue Bombers President & CEO Wade Miller. “He had a passion for his players and his teams and led both to great success. The Winnipeg Football Club offers our deepest sympathies to his wife Sharon, Dave’s family, and his many friends.”

Ritchie served two terms on the Blue Bombers coaching staff, first joining the team in 1990 and working on Mike Riley’s coaching staff as a defensive line and special teams coach and being a part of the Grey Cup championship team that season. He left after the 1991 season and then returned in 1999 after being named head coach.

The Blue Bombers would make a massive turnaround under Ritchie’s watch from 1999-2004, improving from 3-15 before his arrival in 1998 to 6-12 in his first season, a 7-10-1 record in 2000 and a berth in the East Final to a 14-4 mark and divisional championship in 2001. He was named the CFL’s Coach of the Year in 2001.

Ritchie’s Blue Bombers teams would amass a 52-44-1 record under his watch, that win total now ranking fourth in club history after Bud Grant (102), Mike O’Shea (96) and Cal Murphy (86). Ritchie also served as head coach of the B.C. Lions (1993-95), winning a Grey Cup with the team in 1994, and with the Montreal Alouettes (1997-98), retiring with 108 career wins – seventh-most in CFL history.

He was inducted into the Winnipeg Football Club Hal of Fame in 2014 and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2022.