Former CFL executive, offensive lineman Lyle Bauer dead at 65

Photo courtesy: Never Alone Foundation

Longtime CFL executive Lyle Bauer has passed away at the age of 65.

The native of Saskatoon, Sask. served as the president and CEO of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from 2000 to 2009 and served in the same role with the Calgary Stampeders from 2010 to 2012. Winnipeg reached two Grey Cups during his tenure, while the Stampeders qualified for one.

“Lyle Bauer played a significant role for the Blue Bombers during his time with the club as a player, assistant general manager, and team president,” said Blue Bombers president and CEO Wade Miller in a statement.

“He helped guide the team through some difficult challenges at the turn of the millennium and was a key component in the franchise’s rebirth in the early 2000s. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family, his friends across the Canadian Football League, and those he helped through the Never Alone Foundation.”

Bauer played along the offensive line with the Blue Bombers from 1982 to 1991, helping the team win three Grey Cups, and served as an assistant general manager from 1992 to 1994. He was inducted into the Winnipeg Football Club Hall of Fame in 1998.

“Lyle Bauer was a warrior. He grappled with opponents as a Winnipeg Blue Bomber o-lineman, and fought for the franchise’s future as its president and CEO,” wrote CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie.

“He worked in a similar role with the Calgary Stampeders and mounted his most courageous battle against cancer, as founder of the Never Alone Foundation. He was a deeply passionate man, who loved his community, his team, and, most of all, his family and friends, including many in the CFL. May he rest in peace.”

“I greatly enjoyed working with Lyle, both as a teammate and in management,” said Stampeders’ special advisor John Hufnagel in a statement. The two played together in Winnipeg, while Hufnagel served as Calgary’s general manager and head coach during Bauer’s tenure as team president with the Stampeders.

“He was excellent in both roles and he was a great friend. On behalf of the Stampeders organization, I offer condolences to Lyle’s wife, Heidi, and their children as well as to all other members of his family and his many friends.”

Bauer helped found the Never Alone Foundation in 2004 after he was diagnosed with throat cancer. The organization has helped since helped cancer patients and their families by revitalizing palliative care units, providing food, books, advice, and gas gift certificates, and helping ensure that nobody feels alone in their battle against the disease.

“Lyle Bauer’s life was one of remarkable achievement and success, known not only for his illustrious football career but also for his profound dedication to founding the Never Alone Cancer Foundation,” the organization wrote in a statement.

“Through his efforts, thousands of Manitoban cancer patients found solace and support. While his loss is deeply felt, Lyle’s memory will endure through the countless lives he touched and his unwavering commitment to community service. Forever No. 59, you will be dearly missed and forever.”