Two former Canadian Football League coaches passed away this past month. Leo Cahill, who coached the Toronto Argonauts from 1967 to 1972 and again from 1977 to 1978, passed away on February 15 at the age of 89. Then, Urban Bowman, who coached the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1992 and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1997, died on February 25 at the age of 80.
Both Cahill and Bowman have something in common. They both took their respective teams to the Grey Cup and lost to the Calgary Stampeders. Cahill and the Argonauts lost the 1971 Grey Cup to Calgary 14-11 at the old Empire Stadium in Vancouver. Bowman and the Blue Bombers lost the 1992 Grey Cup to Doug Flutie and Calgary 24-10 at Skydome in Toronto.
During the time with the Argonauts, Cahill was known for his excellent recruiting. The most notable football player Cahill brought to Toronto was quarterback Joe Theismann, who spent three seasons with the Argonauts from 1971 to 1973. In 1974, Theismann moved on to the NFL where he had an outstanding career with the Washington Redskins and won the Super Bowl in 1983.
Cahill was also the Argonauts general manager from 1986 to 1988. During his time as a CFL executive, he once again took the Argonauts to the Grey Cup, but lost 38-36 in one of the most dramatic Grey Cup games ever played. At BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, Jerry Kauric kicked a 49 yard field goal at the end of the game to give the Eskimos their fourth Grey Cup title during the 1980’s. The game will most be remembered by Gizmo Williams’s 115 yard unsuccessful field goal return for a touchdown.
Bowman only coached the Blue Bombers one season despite taking them to the Grey Cup. He was the interim head coach for Winnipeg at the time because Cal Murphy missed the season due to heart transplant surgery. Bowman returned to Winnipeg in 1993 as their defensive line and special teams coach. Once again, the Blue Bombers reached the 1993 Grey Cup, but lost 33-23 to the Eskimos.
In 1994, Bowman was the defensive co-ordinator with the Ottawa Rough Riders before joining the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1995. During the 1997 season, Bowman replaced Don Sutherin as the Tiger-Cats head coach, but struggled as the team only won once in 11 games.