Bob O’Billovich

Biography

Builder : Football/Basketball
Year Inducted: 2016
Date of Birth: June 30 1940
Born in: Butte, Montana

After a three-letter career in football, basketball, and baseball, as well as a hall of fame induction at the University of Montana, Bob O’Billovich played five Canadian Football League seasons for the Ottawa Rough Riders from 1963-67. On two occasions, O’Billovich was an Eastern Football Conference All-Star and twice led the division in interceptions, as well as the CFL once.

For the next decade-plus, “Obie” had the unique opportunity to serve as basketball coach at three of Ottawa’s post-secondary schools: Eastern Ontario Institute of Technology (now Algonquin College) 1965-69, winning the 1968-69 Ontario Colleges Athletic Association championship; Carleton University, 1971-73; and University of Ottawa, 1973-77. As head coach of the University of Ottawa football in 1970, he guided the Gee-Gees to the College Bowl national championship (now Vanier Cup) before losing 38-11 to the University of Manitoba Bisons.

O’Billovich returned to the CFL as an assistant coach to George Brancato with the Rough Riders from 1976-81, celebrating a Grey Cup victory in 1976 and experiencing a narrow national championship loss in 1981. The Toronto Argos elevated him to head coach from 1982-89 as the team made three Grey Cup appearances and won in 1983. During his tenure with the Argos, he won the Annis Stukus Award as coach of the year in 1982 and 1987. For the first half of the 1990s “Obie” was head coach and general manager of the British Columbia Lions (1990-92) and then returned to Toronto to hold the same two roles (1993-95). He posted 107 career CFL wins as a head coach.

From 1998-2013, O’Billovich served on the management teams of Saskatchewan Roughriders, Calgary Stampeders, British Columbia and Hamilton Tiger-Cats as either player-personnel director, assistant general manager, general manager or vice-president of football operations. He concluded his 40-year CFL career, which included four Grey Cup wins in seven trips.