Canadian Football League

Friday, December 02, 2005

Riders stick with first Canadian Football League black general manager

The first black general manager in professional football is staying put.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have decided to retain the services of Roy Shivers, who is also the team's director of football operations.

Roy Shivers is staying put as general manager of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. (CP Photo)
There was some question following the CFL season whether Shivers would remain with the club. The team fell below expectations with a 9-9 record and the lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Montreal Alouettes.
There was also the very public late-season arrest of linebacker Trevis Smith on sexual assault charges. The RCMP made the rare move of revealing that Smith is HIV-positive. They allege Smith knowingly exposed a British Columbia woman to the virus and did not tell her about his condition, and they felt a public warning was necessary in this case.
Despite those issues, the club issued a statement Thursday that said its board met to review the 2005 season and unanimously supposed Shivers' year-end report and his recommendations for the 2006 campaign.
"Roy has shown us a plan," team chairman Graham Barker was quoted as saying on the Roughriders team website. "We are very pleased with what we have been presented and have every confidence that with the addition and deletion of certain aspects of the team make-up this off-season, that this organization as a whole will be better off and once again in contention for a championship."
Shivers has one more year remaining on his contract with the Roughriders.
Under Shivers' leadership, the Roughriders have compiled a 48-59-1 overall record. Saskatchewan has made the playoffs the past four years and twice reached the West Division final, but it has never finished higher than third in the West Division and hasn't hosted a playoff game since 1988.
Shivers' road to his football post is one of breaking down barriers. When he was hired by the team in 1999, he vowed to bring equality to the game he loves.
He sent a clear message to the league by bringing in former CFL quarterback Danny Barrett to lead the team on the field. Barrett had been an assistant coach with the Calgary Stampeders.
"I hired a qualified coach and he happened to be black, and I wanted him to be black. We never get these chances. I'm in a position where I can finally do it," said Shivers.
"If I don't do it, who's gonna do it?"
Shivers was born in 1941 in the segregated world of Hally, Arkansas and was one of eight children.
"My father taught me that, 'Hey, never forget where you came from. If you get your foot in the door, you help somebody,' he said."


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