Winnipeg Blue Bombers add Cal Murphy statue at Investors Group Field

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Winnipeg Blue Bombers add Cal Murphy statue at Investors Group Field

Cal Murphy has been immortalized in bronze outside the home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Murphy, who died in 2012, was with the Blue and Gold for three Grey Cup-winning seasons over his 14-year career with the team, and is second to only Bud Grant on the list of Bombers' most winning coaches.

After honouring Grant with a statue in 2014, the team unveiled a bronze likeness of Murphy outside Investors Group Field Thursday afternoon. 

"Cal will forever be someone who is cherished in our community," said Mayor Brian Bowman, who was among the dignitaries, fans, and former teammates who joined members of Murphy's family as the new statue was revealed. "Not only did he deliver results on the field, but he was somebody that had an incredibly large heart." 

"This is one of our own, who did just incredible things for our community," he said.

The statue is just outside Gate 3 at Investors Group Field. 

Born in Winnipeg in 1932, Murphy started his coaching career in 1974 with the B.C. Lions, and won his first Grey Cup as an assistant coach with the Montreal Alouettes in 1977. He helped lead the Edmonton Eskimos to five straight CFL titles as an offensive line coach after joining the team in 1978.

Murphy was brought in as head coach of the Bombers in 1983 with the hopes of turning the team around. A year later he led the Bombers to their first Grey Cup win since 1962, and was at the helm when they won the cup in 1988 and again in 1990.

He was also instrumental in the successful bid to bring the Grey Cup game to Winnipeg for the first time in 1991, a move that may have saved the community-owned franchise.

The Bombers reaped $1 million in revenue from the Grey Cup, which barely covered team losses that year.

The Blue and Gold also never missed the playoffs once in the time Murphy was with the team.

Bombers president and CEO Wade Miller said past team presidents played a vital role in getting the ball rolling on the statue and thanked them for their effort in his speech at the unveiling.

"They said we need a statue and they were absolutely right," he said, predicting the statue's spot at Gate 3 will become a landmark for fans before and after games. "This will be a new tradition for a lot of people who come by here."

Murphy is a member of both the Blue Bombers Hall of Fame and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.