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Ryan Dinwiddie: The humble quarterback turned head coach

In the hallowed history of the Canadian Football League, there is a long list of coaches who have made a lasting impact on the league. This includes all-time greats such as Wally Buono, Don Matthews, Frank Clair, Ron Lancaster and Eagle Keys, to name just a few, all of whom have scored hundreds of league wins between them.

In the modern era, one of these future hall of famers is Ryan Dinwiddie, who despite not having even a decade of coaching experience under his belt, already looks set to be joining these hallowed ranks.

In fact, Dinwiddie has been generating such a buzz in recent months, that when you compare betting odds at sportsbooks platforms across the internet, there seems to be a growing confidence among analysts in his abilities as coach.

But who is Ryan Dinwiddie, and why have CFL fans expressed such confidence in him so soon into his coaching career?

Dinwiddie: Background to a legend in the making

Born in November 1980, Ryan Dinwiddie originally hails from California where he got his start playing for Elk Grove High School. After graduating, Dinwiddie headed over to Boise State where he eventually became one of the most prolific passers in college football history during his stint as a three-year starter.

In 2003, for example, Dinwiddie entered the record books when he passed over 4,000 yards, scored 28 touchdowns, and only suffered five interceptions — not bad for a rookie! At the end of this prolific period, Dinwiddie had secured a NCAA Division I record for passing efficiency. These efforts contributed to Dinwiddie being considered by many to be one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever grace Boise State football.

It was this prolific college football era that would lay the foundations for the career he has since enjoyed. In particular, Dinwiddie learned important lessons in leadership, which he put to use both as a professional player and a coach.

Going pro

Following his prolific run at Boise State, Dinwiddie made his professional debut for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2007 against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. This followed a number of stints training with the Chicago Bears in the off-season.

His second CFL start in the regular season came in July 2008 for the Bombers, where he put in an impressive performance which secured the Bombers their first win of the season. This success was short-lived, however, with Dinwiddie being released by the time the Bombers’ 2009 training camp came around.

Following this, Dinwiddie singed a contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, where he served as a backup to Darian Durant. This ended in January 2012 following his release, after which he retired as a player.

New beginnings as a coach: The beginning of a legacy?

Although his relatively modest professional career in the CFL contrasts with his success at Boise State, it is in his second life as a coach that Dinwiddie has truly started to come into his own.

This second career started in February 2013, when the Montreal Alouettes announced that Dinwiddie would be joining the coaching staff to assist Dan Hawkins. Here, Dinwiddie served as the offensive quality control coach — a position he filled for two fruitful years before moving on in December 2015.

Dinwiddie was hired by the Calgary Stampeders as a quarterback coach in December 2015. This proved to be his most fruitful position yet, with Bo Levi Mitchell winning a CFL Outstanding Player award twice under his coaching guidance. The Stampeders also entered a productive period with Dinwiddie as QB coach. They managed to reach the Grey Cup in three consecutive years, eventually going on to win it in 2018.

Dinwiddie’s biggest posting came in December 2019, however, when he was announced as the head coach of the Toronto Argonauts.

Although he is still relatively young in this position, Dinwiddie has nevertheless managed to make an impact on the team. In 2021, he managed to guide the Toronto Argonauts to the top of the East Division.

Dinwiddie has not been afraid of changing things up in this newest role. For the 2022 season, he has already announced a number of bold coaching changes. He has essentially gutted his previous coaching staff for a full roster of fresh faces. Whether these 2022 coaching staff changes will pan out as planned, however, remains to be seen.

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Mark Perry Editor
Mark Perry is the founder and editor of CFL News Hub. A dedicated and experienced football analyst, he has been providing comprehensive coverage of the sport since 2018.
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