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City football field to be named after local Grey Cup winner

'In talking to Mike, he said he wasn’t so sure he was deserving of the award. It was a very odd phone call because he was so humble' City Councillor Marcus Tignanelli
2019 mike o'shea
Mike O'Shea, Winnipeg head coach, seconds away from winning the Grey Cup. Courtesy TSN

North Bay’s Mike O’Shea has garnered many accolades throughout his professional career, including Head Coach of the 2019 Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League.

Now he can add the naming of a football field in his hometown to his growing list of honours.

North Bay City Council has unanimously approved naming the football field at the Steve Omischl Sports Field Complex, the “Mike O’Shea Field”

See: Local football field to be named after five-time Grey Cup winner

City Councillor Marcus Tignanelli brought the motion forward to council.

“Mike O’Shea has been an icon in North Bay for the last 30 years. We always talk about the field and we say there’s all the sponsorship names on it, but I thought it was time that we put a name that people could actually look up to and inspire people. So often times kids are looking for leaders,” said Tignanelli.

“And I always hear that you can’t be successful from North Bay. You’ve got to move down south to be successful. We’ve seen other athletes do that. Mike O’Shea didn’t do that. He rode out high school in North Bay and proved you can be successful straight from North Bay. And I think that is really the story.”

Tignanelli says O’Shea has set positive examples as both player and coach.  

“Seeing him as a coach in the CFL, it shows all the parent volunteers that are coaches, that they are not just coaching for no reason. Somebody from North Bay is now a professional football coach and if that is not inspiration, I’m not sure what is.”

O’Shea is said to be humbled by the recognition.

“In talking to Mike, he said he wasn’t so sure he was deserving of the award. It was a very odd phone call because he was so humble, he was like ‘Oh no, not me,’” Tignanelli said of the conversation.

“He is so very deserving to have a football field named after himself.”

The Widdifield Secondary school NDA Champion was a linebacker for 16 seasons in the CFL playing for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Argos.

O’Shea is a three-time Grey Cup champion as a player with the Argo’s.

He retired second all-time in career tackles with 1,154 and was one of only three players to record over 1,000 tackles.

He would go on to spend three years as an assistant coach with the Toronto Argonauts and was there when they won the Grey Cup in 2012.

The North Bay native is also the recipient of the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian Award, is an inductee into the North Bay Sports Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2017.