Chris Walby - Offensive Line - 1981-97 - Dickinson State
Chris Walby, an offensive tackle who wore the blue and gold of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for 16 seasons, was inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame in September of 2003. This year, ‘the Big Man’ is in his eleventh season as the analyst for THE CFL ON CBC after serving as a guest analyst during CBC’s playoff coverage in 1996.
Born in Winnipeg, Walby played college ball at Dickinson State. He was drafted by the Montreal Alouettes in 1981 and acquired by the Blue Bombers at the midway point of his first season. During his first game back at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Walby recovered a fumble and returned it for the only touchdown of his career.
He played the rest of his career in Winnipeg his hometown.
**from CFL Illustrated 1987**
Life as a pro athlete in your hometown is a boyhood dream of most. As he grew up taller and more gangly than his boyhood friends, Walby directed his energy towards hockey. Strange as it seems now Walby wasn't built for football as a youth.
"I didn't start playing football until my senior year in high school," says Walby, who played with junior Winnipeg Rods and Dickinson State University. "I was probably the same height and 180 pounds when i was 18. If anyone was a betting man, you would definitely bet that i wouldn't come this route.
"I think what happened is I started to get a fascination with weights and for some reason, my body went the opposite route. It got to the point where I was a chunky kid - that's being polite- and not having much muscle tone at all and just being big. So here I was tall and chunky and had to work it to my advantage.
"Growing up I idolized the CFL. I remember listening to the 1972 Western Final (Winnipeg versus Saskatchewan). That's the game that will always stand out in my mind. Mack Herron was playing. I used to write down how many yards he had. That was the fascination I had.
Walby first came to the Bombers' attention in 1978 as a junior. Far from ready, he enrolled in Dickinson State and in 1981, he was a first-round draft choice of the Montreal Alouettes. Walby played just five games with the Alouettes before being claimed on waivers by the Bombers. Winnipeg's head coach at the time Ray Jauch switched the young project player from the defensive to offensive line. his string of all-star nominations began in 1984.
Walby won the Grey Cup three times and was named to the all-star team 11 times. He was twice named the CFL’s most outstanding offensive lineman. Walby was known for his leadership skills both on and off the field. He is in ninth place in CFL history for the most games played - 254.
In 1995, Walby entered the political arena when he joined the Liberal Party of Manitoba, but was unsuccessful in his attempt to defeat the incumbent in his riding.
Walby and his three sons live in Winnipeg where he works in the pharmaceutical business as a sales representative.