Coach O’Shea enters his fifth season as Head Coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2018, after formally accepting the role on December 4, 2013. The 30th Head Coach in franchise history led the club to its best record in over a decade (2003) in 2017, finishing with a mark of 12-6. The 12-win season led to the first ever playoff game at Investors Group Field and first home playoff game for the club since 2011.
In 2014, his first season as Head Coach, O’Shea began to carve out a team- first mentality – something still very evident today – while the club finished with a 7-11 mark. This was followed by an injury-riddled 2015 season in which his team went 5-13.
Universally respected by his players, O’Shea has instilled a mantra of character and hard work inside the Blue Bombers locker room, and a willingness to do whatever it will take to win.
O’Shea took the reins of the Football Club after spending four seasons as the Special Teams Coordinator with the Toronto Argonauts, winning a Grey Cup in 2012. He was a three-time Grey Cup champion as a player during his 16-year CFL career. 2017 will be Oshea’s 24th year in the Canadian Football League.
O’Shea’s special teams units excelled in Toronto, where he was at the forefront of innovative special teams designs and the mere threat of the trick play had opposing coaches on the alert to fakes and other gadgets. In his final two years there, his coverage teams were the CFL leaders in gaining field position – they were second in punt coverage in 2013. Toronto opponents started with the poorest field position overall in the CFL in 2013 and were third in this category in 2012. In that same year, KR/WR Chad Owens became the first player in league history to lead the CFL in both kickoff return yards and receiving yards. Owens also set a world record for most combined yards in a single season.
In 2011, Chad Owens was, for the second straight season, named the East Division’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player, as he set the Toronto Argonauts team record for most kickoff return yards in a season. Under O’Shea, Owens became the first player in pro football history to record back-to-back 3,000 combined yards seasons during a stellar 2011 campaign.
For years, Mike O’Shea was the stalwart of his defences and special teams units. He was the undisputed leader inside the locker room and a team captain. O’Shea played 16 CFL seasons – 12 with the Argos and four with Hamilton – winning three Grey Cup championships (1996, 1997, 2004).
O’Shea was a coaches’ player who always put the game and his teammates first. He knew the playbook front to back and because of his hard work, he commanded respect from rookies and veterans alike. He played in 271 regular season CFL games (the most ever by a defensive player), 18 playoff games and three Grey Cup games. He is second on the CFL’s all-time tackles list with 1,151. The native of North Bay, Ontario, was a five-time East Division All-Star (1994-1995, 1997, 1999, 2000) and was named a CFL All-Star and the league’s Most Outstanding Canadian in 1999. In 2006, O’Shea became the first Canadian ever to make at least 1,000 tackles in a career, and in 2007 he was named an All-Time Argo at linebacker.
An advocate for his teammates, O’Shea was a CFLPA player representative for many years and upon leaving the game, he accepted the position of 1st Vice President for the Players’ Association.
Mike is an alumnus of the University of Guelph and is a member of the Guelph Gryphons Sports Hall of Fame. Mike and his wife Richere have three children: Michael, Ailish and Aisling.