Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Heart attack claims life of Bombers asst. head coach

  • Print

Richard Harris, the longtime defensive line coach with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, has died. He was 63.

Harris is survived by his wife Tami; their four children, Kimberly, Chianti, Jennifer, Michael; and three grandchildren, Chandler, Keegan-Michael, and Aurora.

Harris suffered a heart attack inside the team complex at Polo Park after the club moved indoors from practice. An ambulance arrived at Canad Inns Stadium shortly after he collapsed, and he was taken to hospital.

Players and office staff peered outside the office doors with concerned faces, some breaking down as the emergency medical staff treated their beloved coach in the ambulance.

"This has struck our entire organization from the top down," Bomber president Jim Bell said in a release. "We are all in a state of shock and first and foremost would like to express our deepest sympathies to his family. The Winnipeg Football Club has lost not only a great coach, but an even better man."

This season marked his sixth season with the Bombers and prior to this year, he was named assistant head coach to Winnipeg head coach Paul LaPolice.

Harris was a popular figure around the organization and in the city. A large man with a famous deep and booming voice, the always friendly Harris would often engage fans at practice, inquiring about their well being and taking the time to listen to the response.

Last season, Harris’ line was one of the best defensive fronts in the CFL. Defensive end Phillip Hunt led the league with 16 sacks, while Odell Willis finished with 11 sacks. Hunt and veteran tackle Doug Brown were named to the CFL all-star team under his watch.

Harris has been a defensive coach in the CFL since 2001, when he joined the B.C. Lions. Harris also coached in Ottawa (2005), spending one season with the Renegades before joining Doug Berry's coaching staff in Winnipeg for the 2006 season.

The Shreveport, Louisiana-native played seven years in the NFL as a defensive end. Drafted by Philadelphia in the first round of the 1971 NFL draft fifth overall, Harris played three seasons with the Eagles and was named to the all-rookie team in his first season (1971).

Harris also saw time on the field with the Chicago Bears (1974-75) and the Seattle Seahawks (1976-77).

Prior to his pro career, Harris was a standout pass rusher at Grambling State University, earning All-American honours in 1970.

History

Updated on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 4:34 PM CDT: Adds information on death.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

On the job with sea lion researchers

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A monarch butterfly looks for nectar in Mexican sunflowers at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Monday afternoon-Monarch butterflys start their annual migration usually in late August with the first sign of frost- Standup photo– August 22, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Someone or thing is taking advantage of the inactivity at Kapyong Barracks,hundreds of Canada Geese-See Joe Bryksa’s goose a day for 30 days challenge- Day 15- May 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Are you concerned about the death of a seal at the Assiniboine Park Zoo?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google