The 2020 season will mark the seventh for Kyle Walters overseeing the football operations of the Blue Bombers after officially being named the 17th General Manager in franchise history on November 26, 2013.
Walters will be entering his 10th year with the organization overall, having previously served as an assistant coach and as assistant general manager. After helping guide the Bombers to the 2019 Grey Cup, he signed a contract extension through the 2023 season on December 13, 2019.
An adept talent evaluator, Walters has combined success at the Canadian Draft with shrewd trades and signings in free agency to turn the Bombers first into a contender and then into a champion. This year’s championship has earned him his second Grey Cup ring, after winning as a player with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1999.
The Bombers enter 2020 having posted four consecutive double-digit win seasons after going 11-7 in 2019, 10-8 in 2018, 12-6 in 2017 and 11-7 in 2016. Winnipeg has qualified for the playoffs in each of the last four seasons, and in 2019 ended a 28-year championship drought with a victory in the 107th Grey Cup.
During the 2019 championship season the Bombers added critical pieces in free agency like Willie Jefferson and Winston Rose while keeping their core intact, saw the year’s draft class contribute significantly during the year and then made an important deal at the trade deadline that landed quarterback Zach Collaros, who then helped guide the team to a 4-0 record in his starts on the road to the Grey Cup.
Working in conjunction with Head Coach Mike O’Shea, Assistant GMs Danny McManus and Ted Goveia along with Director of College Scouting Ryan Rigmaiden, Walters has helped make the Bombers desired option for free agents. In addition to signing Jefferson and Rose in 2019, the club has signed key pieces like Adam Bighill, Andrew Harris, Justin Medlock, Stanley Bryant and Nic Demski while discovering new talent like Brandon Alexander, Jackson Jeffcoat, Chris Streveler, Marcus Sayles and Steven Richardson.
Walters first 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 – a focus which continues to this day — Walters also assisted in the football operations department by helping manage the team’s salary cap, negotiate contracts and recruit players. He has developed many positive working relationships with coaches and management at the college and professional levels.
Walters joined Winnipeg as an assistant coach after spending four seasons as the head coach of 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.