Ritchie enjoying life with Lions

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:28 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Life can take some very strange turns.

Just ask Dave Ritchie.

Fired as the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers after just seven games last year, Ritchie found himself on an operating table a short time later.

But now he is back enjoying life.

Booted out of the Bombers organization with a 2-5 record to start last season, Ritchie is now the defensive co-ordinator of the undefeated B.C. Lions. "I had a heart operation (last year) ... and with the help of my friend Wally Buono and some other people, I just got better," said Ritchie, who ducks taking any credit for the Lions great start to 2005.

"I think the credit goes to the players. The offence, defence and special teams are playing outstanding football," he said.

"To be part of all of that is really good and if they keep on winning then you can be part of whatever history you want to call it."

The Lions have a chance to win a record-tying 12th consecutive game of this year's regular season tomorrow at Commonwealth Stadium against the Edmonton Eskimos.

Ritchie has been down this road before.

In 2001, he coached Khari Jones, Milt Stegall, Charlie Roberts and the rest of the Blue Bombers to 12 straight wins in the midst of the regular season.

Ritchie was handed the CFL Coach of the Year award for his efforts.

Life was good - and it stayed that way for a few years.

"I think for three years in a row (in Winnipeg) we had the most wins of anybody in the CFL," remembered Ritchie.

But the wheels fell off the bus last season. For Ritchie, that is in stark contrast to this year.


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