Dyce's home turf

JULIE HORBAL -- Special to the Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

Professional sport is not an avenue conducive to the work-from-home situation.

For the most part, it is not even amicable to the work in your hometown situation.

Luckily for Bob Dyce, sometimes things just work out -- and that they did for the Winnipeg-raised Blue Bombers receivers coach, who is now in his fourth year with the Blue and Gold and 15th year coaching in his hometown.

"It's truly an honour and I feel blessed to just be a coach in the CFL. But it means even more to do it somewhere that -- like the sport -- means a whole lot to me," says Dyce, who has been fortunate enough to pursue his coaching dream all the way up from minor football to the CFL without leaving Winnipeg.

After two failed player tryouts with the Bombers in 1988 and '89, Dyce joined the St. Vital Mustangs of the Canadian Junior Football League in 1992.

He stayed as the receivers coach there for one season, then moved on to a year with the Winnipeg Hawkeyes organization, where he did double duty with the receivers and as the offensive co-ordinator.

From 1996 to 2002, Dyce coached the receivers at the University of Manitoba, but by the time he hit the Bisons he already had loftier goals at work.

"Coaching in the CFL was a plan once I started coaching," says Dyce. "A lot of times when you're a player you think, 'I would never coach. I would never want to deal with these guys.' But as soon as I started coaching, it's kind of like a bug and it bit me hard."

Dyce signed on with the Bombers as a guest coach in 2002 and then on a full-time basis as the running backs and special teams coach in 2003.

He moved into his receivers position two seasons ago and has now -- finally -- settled into the CFL coaching lifestyle.

"In the first year with the Bombers, probably the biggest thing is the amount of time you have to plan for an opponent," Dyce says. "When you're coaching at the university level, you're working a full-time job and going over there at night. It's long days, but probably only four hours of those days are dedicated to football. When you're with a professional team, you're working 12 to 15 hour days that are dedicated to football. It really helps you become a better coach, because all you're doing is football."

The Winnipeg gig also allowed Dyce to spend summers watching and coaching his sports-crazed children -- daughter Brooklyn, 15, and son Tristan, 11.

Brooklyn was noted in Sports Illustrated three years ago for her football exploits, but now concentrates on soccer, in which she just competed at the national championships. Tristan plays hockey, football and soccer and Dyce takes every opportunity to use his football family to motivate the athletics and scholastics of his actual family.

"Being around guys like Milt (Stegall) and Charles (Roberts), then they see the hard work and dedication it takes. They also see these guys have all gone to college and they get to see the value of an education," Dyce says, noting the past four years have been an absolutely ideal situation for his entire family -- though things can still get better.

"Any coach you talk to, they're always striving to get better," says Dyce, who -- though satisfied with his station -- would never admit complacency.

"You always want to coach at the highest level possible. I grew up in Canada, so I knew lots more about the CFL and that was the pinnacle of what I wanted to do."

Dyce has designs on one day landing a head-coaching job, as he admits he is not nearly as passionate about any alternative to his current field.

If coaching ever fell through, he thinks he would go back to his career in sales, though teaching ranks a close second.

"Coaching is teaching and I think I would love it. But I probably missed the boat on that one, so I would probably go back to sales," Dyce laughs. "But hopefully I don't have to find that out for a long, long time."

While Dyce realizes his fortune in maintaining a long-term home base in Winnipeg, he admits he doesn't always realize how lucky he is to be a coach with the team he grew up watching.

That is until he runs into someone he grew up watching with, and then the memories and meaning come flooding back.

"I see people who I went to school with and they say, 'Wow, you're coaching with the Bombers,' but to me it's just my job," Dyce says. "It's just like a reporter, it's (their) job to do interviews and people come up to you and say 'I can't believe you get to talk to Milt Stegall.'

"To a reporter it's just the job. To me, football is my job. But when I meet people like that I remember how lucky I actually am."


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