Mike O'Shea (Canadian football)

Michael O'Shea (born September 21, 1970) is the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He is a former Canadian football linebacker and former special teams coordinator of the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL from 2010 to 2013, winning the Grey Cup in 2012. O'Shea played 16 seasons in the CFL for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts from 1993 to 2008. He retired second all-time in career tackles with 1,154 and is one of only three players to record over 1,000 tackles. He won the CFL's Most Outstanding Canadian Award in 1999 after recording 84 tackles, 13 special teams tackles and three interceptions that year. O'Shea is a three-time Grey Cup champion as a player, having won all three with the Argonauts in 1996, 1997, and 2004. He is also a one time Grey Cup winning head coach, having won with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2019, O'Shea also won the Grey Cup previously as a special teams coach with the Toronto Argonauts in the 100th Grey Cup.

Mike O'Shea
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
O'Shea in 2016
Born: (1970-09-21) September 21, 1970
North Bay, Ontario
Career information
CFL statusNational
Height6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight228 lb (103 kg)
High schoolWiddifield
CFL draft1993 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4
Drafted byEdmonton Eskimos
Career history
As coach
20102013Toronto Argonauts (STC)
2014–presentWinnipeg Blue Bombers (HC)
As player
19931995Hamilton Tiger-Cats
1996Detroit Lions*
19961999Toronto Argonauts
2000Hamilton Tiger-Cats
20012008Toronto Argonauts
*Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
CFL All-Star1999
CFL East All-Star1994, 1999, 2000
  • CFL North Division All-Star (1995)
Career stats
  • Playing stats at CFL.ca (archive)

Professional career

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Edmonton Eskimos picked O'Shea in the 1st round (4th overall) in the 1993 CFL Canadian College Draft. However, he was soon after traded to Hamilton by Edmonton along with QB DeChane Cameron, linebacker DeWayne Odom and a negotiation list player in exchange for QB Damon Allen on February 16, 1993.

In his first season in the CFL in 1993, O'Shea started in all 18 games. In 1994, he once again played in all 18 games during the regular season. He had 95 DT, 11 special teams tackles and 5 interceptions during the regular season. He was also named to the East Division All-Star team at middle linebacker. In 1995, O'Shea played in 10 games for Hamilton, made 69 DT, 4 special teams tackles and intercepted 2 passes during the regular season. He was named to the North Division All-Star team. In Hamilton’s 31-13 loss to the Calgary Stampeders in the North Division Semi-Final, made 4 DT and 1 special teams tackle.

Toronto Argonauts

O'Shea signed with the Argonauts half way through the 1996 season after he was one of the final cuts in the Detroit Lions training camp. He played in the last 8 games of the regular season started Toronto’s final 5 games of the regular season. He helped lead Toronto to the 1996 Grey Cup game in a win over Edmonton. He would also help Toronto win its second Grey Cup in as many years in the 1997 game. O'Shea would also play in Toronto in the 1998 and 1999 season as middle linebacker, putting up good numbers.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Hamilton acquired O'Shea in a trade with Toronto in exchange for RB Éric Lapointe, the right of first refusal on all offensive lineman and the playing rights to Orlondo Steinauer on June 11, 2000. He made an immediate impact in the season opener vs. B.C. as he contributed with 7 DT, made 3 DT On October 13, 2000 in the Tiger-Cats’ 32-8 loss to Toronto, O'Shea had his best individual game of the season with 12 DT and 1 pass knockdown. He finished the season third in the league with 90 DT.

Toronto Argonauts

O'Shea signed with the Argonauts once again as a free agent in the 2001 season. The Argonauts had a horrible 2001 season. In 2002, the Argos seemed to turn it around, and made it to the East final only to lose to Montreal. In his second tenure with the Argonauts, O'Shea was an important component of the Argonauts' strong defence. In 2004, O'Shea helped lead the Argos to the 2004 Grey Cup Championship, beating the B.C. Lions 27-19, winning his 3rd Grey Cup, all with the Argonauts.

Against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on October 20, 2006, he became the first Canadian and third player in CFL history to record 1000 career tackles. In 2007, he was voted as the middle linebacker on the All-Time Argos Team.[1] O'Shea was released by the Argonauts on February 27, 2009. He finished his career with the second most games played by an Argonaut with 205, 17 games behind former linebacker Don Moen.

Based on his playing career, he was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2017.[2]

Coaching career

O'Shea was hired by the Toronto Argonauts as their special teams coordinator for the 2010 season. He spent three seasons in Toronto where he won his first Grey Cup as a coach in the 100th Grey Cup.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers hired O'Shea an December 4, 2013, he became the team's 30th Head Coach in team history. In his sixth year with the team, O'Shea won his first Grey Cup as a head coach, defeating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and ending a 29-year drought in Winnipeg with a win in the 107th Grey Cup game.[3] O'Shea had helped establish a winning foundation for the Bombers, following four successful double-digit win seasons. As a result of this, the Blue Bombers extended him for an additional three seasons through to 2022.[4]

CFL coaching record

TeamYearRegular seasonPostseason
WonLostTiesWin %FinishWonLostResult
WPG2014 7110.3895th in West Division--Missed playoffs
WPG2015 5130.2784th in West Division--Missed playoffs
WPG2016 1170.6113rd in West Division01Lost in Division Semi-Finals
WPG2017 1260.6672nd in West Division01Lost in Division Semi-Finals
WPG2018 1080.5563rd in West Division11Lost in Division Finals
WPG2019 1170.6113rd in West Division30Won 107th Grey Cup
Total 56520.5190 Division
431 Grey Cup

Personal life

O'Shea and his wife have three children; one son and two daughters.


  1. "All-Time Argos Team unveiled". Toronto Argonauts Football Club. 2007-10-26. Archived from the original on 2008-03-30. Retrieved 2007-12-09.
  2. "Canadian Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017 features All-Time Leaders, Big-Time Builders". cfhof.ca. March 23, 2017. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  3. "For the Grey: Bombers end cup drought with win over Ticats". cfl.ca. November 24, 2019.
  4. "Blue Bombers re-sign head coach Mike O'Shea to new 3-year contract". CBC Manitoba. December 13, 2019.
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