By Ed Tait
He’s been calling the shots and pulling the trigger on trades on an interim basis since last summer, and now the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have made it official: Kyle Walters is their ‘new’ general manager.
The Bombers made the announcement, expected for weeks after Walters replaced Joe Mack in August as ‘acting’ GM, Tuesday morning.
"What’s impressive with Kyle is the work he’s done since he’s had that opportunity," said Bomber president and CEO Wade Miller, who said his search was extenstive. "The steps that we’ve taken obviously didn’t result in moving the club forward on the field, but his knowledge of how to use the ratio, his football background and the experience he has with the salary cap, what he’s done in the Canadian scouting… there’s many aspects of it.
"More importantly he has a desire to win and has the right attitude to get this done and he’ll work hard every day. Those things are tough to measure."
Walters, who began last season as the assistant GM, replaced Mack on August 13. He has also served as the club’s Director of Canadian Scouting and was a special teams coach. In total, Walters – who played seven seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats -- has 12 seasons of CFL experience as a player, coach and Assistant General Manager.
"I’m driven to succeed in everything I want to do," said Walters. "I understand it’s a monumental undertaking and I’m excited for it. I might not outwardly show it, but I’m very excited for this opportunity. But I also understand that I’m not going to be satisfied until we get this organization to where it needs to be."
Walters & Co. have a huge rebuild to undertake to fix the Bombers, dead last in the entire Canadian Football League in 2013 with a 3-15 record and just 9-27 in the last two years. He said his first priority is to hire a head coach – interviews have already begun – and to get a scouting staff in place.
"My basic philosophy, as with most in the Canadian Football League, is you need to have production at the quarterback position and you need to have depth at your Canadians," said Walters. "And that is priority No. 1 when you start looking at our roster."
Walters also provided an update on linebacker Henoc Muamba, the club’s top player who is heading for free agency this winter -- the organization is trying to re-sign him, but he has a window from Dec. 1-Jan. 31st to work out for NFL teams and the Canadian linebacker will draw interest.
Walters and his wife Rena have two young children, Lawson and Taylor, and reside in Winnipeg year round.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers President and CEO Wade Miller announced today that Kyle Walters has been named General Manager.
"Kyle is a strong leader with a wealth of knowledge of the Canadian Football League. His professionalism and great desire to win make him exactly what this organization needs in its next General Manager," said Miller.
"This is a great honour to represent fans across the province as the General Manager of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers," said Walters. "This franchise is embedded in our community and I’m very excited to steer us in the right direction moving forward."
Since August, Walters has been aggressive in creating positive change in football operations, both through trades and signing free agents, something he says will continue into the winter.
"No stone will go unturned, in any regard, in making this team better," said Walters, who lives in Winnipeg year-round. "My goal for this team is to be competitive on a weekly basis, make the playoffs and be an annual contender."
Walters took over as the Acting General Manager on August 13, 2013. Prior to that, he served as Assistant General Manager and Director of Canadian Scouting with the Blue Bombers. In total, Walters has 12 seasons of CFL experience as a player, coach and Assistant General Manager.
He played seven seasons in the Canadian Football League with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and won a Grey Cup championship with the team in 1999.