After a rough two year stretch as head coach, Paul LaPolice has been relieved of his duties. Special teams coordinator Bob Dyce takes over for the remainder of the year. So that leaves one large question as my fellow CFLNewsHub.com writer Andrew Paul Murray coined: Is Ottawa hoping to #DyceItUp the rest of 2022? Coach LaPolice has issued a statement following his firing:
Who is Bob Dyce?
Dyce began his coaching career in 1992 as an assistant coach for the Saint Vital Mustangs a CJFL team. He would spend two seasons with the team helping lead them to back-to-back championship wins. He departed for the Winnipeg Hawkeyes in 1994.
Taking the offensive coordinator role for the Hawkeyes, Dyce also was named the receivers coach. Working with Donald Burrell the head coach at the time. Burrell and Dyce both wound up in the CFL after this stop with the Hawkeyes. Both men left in 1995 with Burrell taking a job working with the Secondary in Winnipeg, and Dyce heading to the CIS Manitoba Bisons.
With the Bisons, Dyce continued to coach receivers. He would work under head coach Brian Dobie the man who still to this day runs the team. A total of 26 years later. This program is now noted for developing many CFL players and even a couple NFL players in David Onyemeta, and Israel Idonije. After 7 more seasons Dyce found his way to the CFL.
Dyce would find his opportunity in a familiar city and role. Coaching receivers for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Ironically Dyce outlasted the head coach that hired him. Spending just two seasons working under Dave Ritchie.
Ritchie was the seventh winningest coach in CFL history when he left the league in 2007. He has since been enshrined in the Hall of Fame as a builder. Dyce couldn’t have asked for a much better person to begin his CFL career under. In 2005 Ritchie was shown the door and special teams coordinator and defensive line coach Jim Daley was promoted to interim Head Coach. He was handed the full time job and would hold this title for just one full season.
Outlasting yet another head coach, Dyce remained on the staff until 2009. Following the dismissal of Daley, Doug Berry was hired after a seven season stint in Montreal as an assistant coach. He would last three seasons as the head coach for Winnipeg. However Dyce and Berry grew close during this time.
One Last Head Coach in Winnipeg
In his final season with the Blue Bombers, the team brought back former offensive coordinator Mike Kelly. He had also spent time in the XFL as the offensive coordinator for the Orlando Rage, the following season landing with the Philadelphia Eagles.
When he was brought back to Winnipeg he was also handed general manager duties. This combination lasted just one season before Kelly was fired. Ending a seven year stint with a fifth head coach. This left Dyce looking for another job. He wound end up following his former head coach to Saskatchewan.
Doug Berry was hired as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator for the Roughriders. Berry brought in his former receivers coach this time as a passing game coordinator/receivers coach. Unfortunately for Berry he was fired 8 games into the 2011 season and replaced by the man who had followed him to Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan Sees Something in Dyce
Dyce worked his way up within the Roughriders organization. First as the receivers coach/passing game coordinator, then as the offensive coordinator to finish out 2011, a role he also held in 2012. After one season running the offense he shifted to coordinating special teams. He held this position until 2015.
In 2015 he was promoted to interim head coach for the first time after watching Corey Chamblin get fired after starting 0-9. Dyce led his squad to a 3-6 record but ultimately was replaced by Chris Jones on December 7th 2015. Following this stint as interim head coach Dyce landed in Ottawa with the Redblacks.
Redblacks Show Loyalty
Having stuck with Ottawa since 2016 as their special teams coach, Dyce was one of the longest tenured and most experienced assistants on the staff. He has experience dealing with players from the offensive and defensive side of the ball as a special teams coordinator. He also has knowledge of offense which has been the main source of the issues in Ottawa.
To me the move to promote Dyce is as safe as it gets. Safe isn’t necessarily a bad thing after the last two seasons. The Redblacks need a calming presence that can help the team get back on track to lead the way. It was evident even as a fan that Coach LaPolice was feeling the pressure in the most recent loss as he was seen pacing the sidelines looking awfully worried as the Redblacks dropped another game. Perhaps he knew this was the next move coming.
While I believe they will give Dyce every opportunity to earn the job full-time, the job will not be won during the 2022 season unless a minor miracle occurs. Dyce will likely enter a level playing field with outside candidates come this off-season but only time will tell what the Redblacks can do with a new coach, and many new faces in the front office. One thing is for sure, Ottawa is over the losing, and has continued to make moves to try and fix the situation. From a headline grabbing off-season, and a mid-season revamp of the scouting department, and finally a change at head coach the message is loud and clear…Ottawa wants to win.