Kyle Walters enters his fourth season overseeing the football operations of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He officially became the General Manager on November 26, 2013, the 2017 season marking his seventh year with the organization. Walters’ extensive background in both the Canadian Football League and at the CIS level made him a perfect fit in becoming the 17th General Manager in franchise history.
Walters continued his rebuild of the franchise in 2016, while also seeing some immediate success in seeing his club finish with an 11-7 record. Andrew Harris and Justin Medlock – two of Walters’ key free agent signings – proved very successful, both achieving CFL All-Star recognitions. Kyle also orchestrated a trade for quarterback Drew Willy in which the club acquired the first overall selection in the 2017 CFL Draft and CFL All-Star defensive back TJ Heath. Matt Nichols, whom he acquired for a late round draft pick late in the 2015 season, took over the starting duties and went 10-3, leading the club to its first playoff appearance in five seasons.
Walters continues to be very active in showing his ability to make whatever changes are necessary to improve the on-field product. He was the most active GM during 2016 Free Agency, making it the busiest free agency period the organization had seen in years. Walters acquired impactful players such as Weston Dressler, Andrew Harris, Ryan Smith and Justin Medlock over the 2016 off-season. He is constantly active in his pursuit of Canadian free agents, courting and signing one of the league’s top defensive linemen in 2015, Jamaal Westerman. He also oversees the CFL Draft process for the organization, which has produced two starting offensive lineman in the past two seasons – guard Sukh Chungh and centre Matthias Goossen, as well as CFL All-Star safety Taylor Loffler.
In Walters’ first season as General Manager, Walters immediately began his overhaul of the roster, focusing mainly on improving the Canadian talent while being active in free agency, and continuing to add pieces throughout the season that he and his staff felt would improve the football team. He managed the club to a 7-11 mark.
Walters made the move from the sidelines to the management chair as he began his tenure as Assistant General Manager and Director of Canadian Scouting with the Blue Bombers in 2013.
Concentrating mostly on scouting at the CIS level prior to his General Manager appointment, Walters also assisted in the football operations department by helping to manage the team’s salary cap, negotiate contracts and recruit players. He has developed many positive working relationships with coaches and management in the CIS and Canadian Football League, and instantly became a very active GM in his first off-season in the role.
As Winnipeg’s Special Teams Coordinator, Walters oversaw a unit in 2012 that boasted one of the league’s most electrifying returners in Demond Washington, whose team-leading 2,011 all-purpose yards ranked him fourth in the league and was the most by any Blue Bomber since Fred Reid amassed 2,035 in 2009. The punt return teams sprung Washington for two touchdowns, and in 2011, the cover units never surrendered a single major.
Walters joined Winnipeg after spending four seasons as the Head Coach with the University of Guelph Gryphons where he posted a 13-18-1 overall record and advanced to the playoffs in three of the four seasons he was at the helm. In 2007, Guelph had one of their best seasons in recent history, finishing 4-4 and hosting not only their first home playoff game since 1986, but also the 100th Yates Cup – their first Yates appearance since winning it in 1996. Walters was also the Special Teams Coordinator from 2007-2009 for Team West in the CIS All-Star game.
The native of St. Thomas, Ontario, previously served as the Gryphons full-time Assistant Coach and Defensive Coordinator from 2004-2005. Before entering the college ranks, Walters spent the 2003 season as the Assistant Special Teams Coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
As a player, Walters was drafted in the second round (10th overall) in the 1996 CFL Draft and played safety and halfback with Hamilton, helping them win the 1999 Grey Cup. His 78 special teams tackles ranks fourth all-time in Hamilton Tiger-Cat history and he was named a team captain during his final three seasons.
In college, Walters suited up for the University of Guelph from 1992-1996 and was named team captain during his senior year. He helped them capture the Yates Championship in 1992 and 1996.
Walters earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Guelph in 1997. He and his wife Rena have two young children, Lawson and Taylor, and reside in Winnipeg full-time.