WINNIPEG — Urban Bowman, who led the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to a Grey Cup berth as interim head coach in 1992, died Sunday at the age of 80.
The Blue Bombers announced Bowman’s passing. The cause of death wasn’t immediately available.
“Everyone in the Blue Bombers family is deeply saddened by this news,” club president Wade Miller said in a statement. “Urban was a great ambassador for our game and for Canadian football in Winnipeg and Manitoba.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”
Bowman, a native of Baltimore, attended Westminster High School in Westminster, Md., before landing a football scholarship at the University of Delaware.
Bowman was a veteran CFL coach, spending time with five Canadian organizations, some more than once. He came north in 1971 as Hamilton’s defensive co-ordinator and later served as the Ticats assistant head coach, special-teams co-ordinator, defensive line coach and interim head coach (1995-97). He also worked with the Edmonton Eskimos (1972-73, 1990), Ottawa (1989, 1994).
He had three separate stints with Winnipeg, the first being from 1985-88 as defensive line and special-teams coach. He returned as defensive line and special-teams coach in 1991 and served as interim head coach in 1992 when Cal Murphy had to undergo heart transplant surgery.
Bowman led Winnipeg to an 11-7 record and a first-place finish in the East Division. The Blue Bombers defeated Hamilton 59-11 in the conference final but fell 24-10 to the Calgary Stampeders in the Grey Cup game at then SkyDome.
Murphy returned in 1993 and Bowman moved back to serving as the defensive line and special-teams coach.
After a battle with prostate cancer and some time spent in the collegiate coaching ranks, Bowman returned to the CFL in 2000 as the Toronto Argonauts special-teams coach. He came back to Winnipeg in 2004 to coach the Bombers’ special teams.
In 2009, Bowman was inducted into the Carroll County Sports Hall of Fame.
“Beyond coaching football, Urban was also a teacher and became a Canadian citizen in 1995,” Miller said. “He loved the CFL and the people of the league and he will be missed dearly.”