Manitoba Bisons coaching staff announces OC, Special Teams

The Manitoba Bisons football team continues to build a winning tradition over the years and the team is pleased to announce Blair Atkinson as new offensive coordinator for the upcoming 2017 season. In addition, former Bison on 2007 Vanier Cup team and coach Ryan Karhut returns to Bison Football as new special teams coordinator for 2017.

Former Bison on 2007 Vanier Cup team and coach Ryan Karhut returns to Bison Football as new special teams coordinator for 2017.

“I am very excited and proud to announce Blair Atkinson and Ryan Karhut as Coordinators with the Bison Football team for the 2017 season,” stated Bison football head coach Brian Dobie in his 22nd season. “Blair moves from Receivers Coach to his new position as Offensive Coordinator. We welcome Ryan back to Manitoba from York University as our new Special Teams Coordinator. Both young men have moved forward on their coaching paths and have proven to be highly motivated, committed and successful coaches.”

Atkinson, 36, has been the receivers coach for the Bisons since the 2007 Vanier Cup championship season at Manitoba. Over the last ten seasons, Atkinson has coached numerous top offensive players (six) who have been selected in the CFL Draft and three more signed on as CFL free agents. Atkinson has been integral in producing top receivers at Manitoba (three conference all-stars) with four Bisons in Canada West Top 15 of receptions in 2016 season. In addition, the Aldergrove, B.C. native was guest coach for the Canadian Football League (CFL)’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2015. In addition, he is a co-founder of Recruit Ready program since 2010 and receiver coach plus Offensive Coordinator (7v7) and Co-Head Coach (7v7) while at Recruit Ready.

Before coaching, Atkinson played with the Manitoba Bisons from 2003-05 and led the team in receiving in his final two seasons. Plus, Atkinson is in Top 10 all-time in Bison receiving records for receiving yards (1,143), receptions (77) and average per catch (14.8) and touchdowns (12). He was part of the Blue Bombers during the 2006-07 seasons and played junior football at Abbotsford Airforce (1999-00) and South Fraser Rams (2001-02) where he was named CJFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2001.

Karhut, 35, is a former Bison for the 2007 Vanier Cup team and returns to Bison Football after coaching at the high school, junior football and U SPORTS level over the last decade. His 22 year playing career at offensive line included the Edmonton Huskies (1999-03), at University of Central Florida (2004) and with the Bisons (2005-07). In his time at Manitoba, the Regina native was part of two 8-0 teams and named a team captain of Hardy Cup, Mitchell Bowl and Vanier Cup championship team in 2007. Karhut was selected by the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the fifth round (39th overall) in 2007 CFL draft and spent one season with the Montreal Alouettes in 2008 before retiring.

Karhut started his coaching career with the Kelvin Clippers of the Winnipeg High School Football League and in his second season, the Regina native was named offensive coordinator and helped guide the Clippers to a Vidruk Division championship. Following that season, he was named the head coach of the Winnipeg Rifles of the Canadian Junior Football League for 2013 and was the Offensive Coordinator in his second season with the Rifles. In 2015, Karhut was hired to be the Defensive Line Coach plus Special Teams and Recruiting Coordinators for York University. In his second season, York’s special teams units ranked Top 5 in the nation in almost every stats category. He was named to coaching staff for the West team as defensive line coach for the 2015 East-West Bowl. Karhut was also the head coach of the York Region Lions in the Ontario Varsity Football League (OVFL) for 2016 and led team to a 6-2 record, the most wins in the program’s history.

Dobie continued about new coordinators, “Particularly significant to me is that both of these young men came through the Bison system at Manitoba and were impactful players and leaders. They have become professional career coaches, dedicated as students of the game to continually grow and pass on their knowledge and experience to our players. We are excited to move forward as Blair and Ryan begin their new roles.”

Source: Manitoba Bisons

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