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Dave Ritchie, who led Blue Bombers, Lions to Grey Cup victories, dead at age 85

 Dave Ritchie, the Hall of Fame former CFL head coach, has died. He was 85.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers confirmed Ritchie’s death Saturday. The cause was not immediately divulged.

Ritchie amassed a 52-41-1 regular-season record as a head coach with Winnipeg. That left him fourth overall in club history behind Bud Grant (102), current head coach Mike O’Shea (96) and Cal Murphy (86).

Ritchie first joined the Bombers in 1990 on head coach Mike Riley’s staff as a defensive line and special-teams coach and was part of a Grey Cup-winning squad that year.

The native of New Bedford, Mass., left after the ’91 season then returned in 1999 after being named head coach, serving in that capacity until 2004. The club was 3-15 in 1998 but improved to 6-12 in its first season under Ritchie, then 7-10-1 in 2000.

But in 2001, Winnipeg posted a 14-4 regular-season record and advanced to the Grey Cup before dropping a 27-19 decision to the Calgary Stampeders.

Still, Ritchie was named the CFL’s coach of the year that season.

Ritchie also served as head coach of the B.C. Lions (1993-95), winning a Grey Cup with the team in 1994.

He also served in that capacity with the Montreal Alouettes (1997-98), retiring with 108 career wins — seventh-most in CFL history.

Ritchie was inducted into the Winnipeg Football Club Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2022.

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