Danny McManus and Ted Goveia were both there at the beginning and helped place the cornerstones in the methodical rebuild of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. And now the club’s dynamic assistant general managers and talent sleuth duo are back on board for two more seasons after signing contract extensions with the back-to-back Grey Cup champions through 2023.
Both men had been in high demand across the Canadian Football League over the last few weeks. McManus – the Bombers’ assistant GM and director of U.S. scouting – said he had been contacted by two teams. Goveia, the Bombers’ assistant GM and director of player personnel, was a finalist for the Edmonton Elks GM job as well as interviewing with the Ottawa REDBLACKS.
“There has been a lot of uncertainty over the past couple of weeks with guys getting spots and how all the dominos were falling into place around the league,” McManus told Bluebombers.com from his base in Florida. “But it worked out for us to all stay together. We all work well together, which is awesome.”
“I feel like I’m fortunate to be where I’m at and down the road something will happen,” added Goveia. “And if it doesn’t, I’ll just continue to work hard. I love being in football and I enjoy the experience. I’ll enjoy it this coming year and next year and we’ll see what happens after that. My whole life has been in football. I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything.”
The fingerprints of both men are all over the Blue Bombers roster, both in the work they do with GM Kyle Walters and head coach Mike O’Shea in preparing for the Canadian Draft, but also keeping the pipeline of talented players flowing north from the U.S. to Winnipeg. But the returns weren’t instant. Goveia, McManus and O’Shea all joined the Bombers in December of 2013 and arrived upon a scorched-earth scene after the club had gone a woeful 9-27 in 2012-13.
The Bombers went a combined 12-24 over the regime’s first two seasons, but the patience of president and CEO Wade Miller to hold firm began to pay off in 2016. Since then, the Bombers are 55-31, have made the playoffs for five consecutive seasons while posting double-digit win totals each year and have now won back-to-back Grey Cups.
“It’s like when you’re building a new house and you need a well and you have to find out where the water is,” McManus explained. “So, you’ve got holes all over the backyard trying to find out where the water is. But once you land that water and the pump gets going, it gets easier. There were struggles at the beginning, for sure, but Wade gets a lot of credit for sticking with us. I mean, the first three years weren’t dynamic, but you started to see the light in the middle of the third year and he was smart enough to give us another contract and from then it just took off.
“It was perseverance in all of us to keep building it. It’s a different challenge now. Now it’s the challenge of maintaining and sometimes that’s harder because everybody wants a piece of the pie and are well deserving to get a piece, but there’s not a lot of pie to go around.”
The contracts for both Goveia and McManus were set to expire at the end of this month which, along with their glowing resumés, led to their popularity for vacancies around the league.
“I believe (becoming a GM) will happen, but in the meantime my focus is on the responsibilities I have now and serving this team,” Goveia said. “We’ve got great players and I enjoy my work environment and this coaching staff. So, to leave for a few more dollars or a different opportunity wouldn’t be an easy decision anyway.”
Fit is important in any situation in football, whether it is as a player, a coach, or a personnel man looking to run his own show on day. The fit for Goveia and McManus in Winnipeg is strong right now. Still, even with the new contract extensions, their names will continue to be associated with any GM opening around the league.
“You always want to be the starting quarterback, but as you know it did take me a while to become a starter,” McManus said with a chuckle. “That’s why I do the interviews. It’s got to be the right situation, though, not just from my side but the team side in terms of whether I’m the right fit.
“There’s no doubt you want to run your own club and see what you can do. You have some different ideas and maybe do some things the same as what we do in Winnipeg. It’ll come. I’m a very patient man.”
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