Edinboro Alumni Issue: Jeremy O'Day

Friday, October 13th, 2017 at 9:05 PM
Edinboro Alumni Issue: Jeremy O'Day by Mike Lantinen
Contributed Photo

The accomplishments of former Fighting Scot Jeremy O’Day are often those behind the scenes and in front of the traditional talent. He assists in the record breaking, he blocks for the future hero, he studies in the dark film room. But his career in the Canadian Football League (CFL) will be remembered for a physical prowess, while his impact as a football mind continues to pay dividends today. One thing’s for certain: O’Day always finds himself in the middle of success. 

A former CFL All-Star offensive lineman and two-time Grey Cup winner (the CFL championship), O’Day didn’t have long to enjoy his retirement following a 10-plus-year career. In 2011, he was offered a position in the front office for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, located in his current residence of Regina. 

O’Day graduated from Edinboro University in 1996 and was inducted into the Fighting Scots Hall of Fame in 2008. A native of Lockport, New York, a small city nestled along the Erie Canal, O’Day has never really been bothered by the lack of attention that lineman receive.

“Those guys treated us well (the skill position players). Gerald (Thompson) was always taking care of us as an offensive line. It was as easy as bringing us burgers or donuts or something else after the game to let us know he appreciated the work we were doing.”

Thompson is Edinboro’s all-time leading rusher and was a member of the Fighting Scots alongside O’Day for two years. His career totaled 4,410 yards and 38 touchdowns; Thompson’s 4.7 yards per carry was something O’Day and his fellow lineman cared about. 

“As a group, we took a lot of pride in making the running backs the best they could possibly be...you take a lot of pride when their name is in the paper or they’re having success or getting accolades because it’s a reflection of the work that you’re doing.” 

Producing three separate rushers who were able to break the 1,000-yard mark is a testament to O’Day and his fellow teammates. 

“I was fortunate enough to have Larry Jackson my first year and Gerald Thompson after that. We had a good crew, even the supporting cast; when Gerald got hurt, Tony Brinson stepped in and we didn’t miss a beat (all of which were the 1,000-yard rushers).” 

As a player, his Edinboro teams boasted an impressive record of 30-12, including two appearances in the NCAA Division II playoffs in 1993 and 1995, while winning the PSAC West championship in ‘95. Jody Dickerson, currently ranked third all-time in passing yards, helped run Edinboro’s offense when O’Day first arrived, representing a key piece to the 1993 playoff team.

Following his career as a Scot, O’Day played two years for the Toronto Argonauts, joining soon-to-be Buffalo sports hero Doug Flutie for what would turn out to be a Grey Cup championship winning season.

He then made his move to his now permanent home of Regina, Saskatchewan where he played 11 more seasons in the CFL for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Towards the twilight of his playing career, O’Day took pride in becoming a player “rep” (being used as a reference for other players on contract), earning the organization’s first ever president’s ring (recognizing on-the-field performance, plus motivational and leadership skills) in 2006 and following that up the next year with the Mosaic Outstanding Community Leader Award.

Currently, O’Day is the assistant vice president of football operations and administration for Saskatchewan.

“When I was younger, I probably always had it (management skills). I didn’t necessarily have it pinpointed to what I wanted to do, but I knew that I liked personnel, how rosters work, studying statistics and analytics, so for me, even at an early age, I found it a passion.” 

At Edinboro, he took the film portion of the game seriously, as well. 

“I would write up my own scouting reports of the players I was going against. Their height, weight, type of player they were, and I never took them for granted. I always acted like the person I was playing against was the best player I ever played against.”

O’Day recalled some of his fondest memories when talking about Edinboro and beyond. He remembers his times in college park, “the happening place in town,” jumping from apartment to apartment. He remembered the first time he drove out to Saskatchewan, “the longest drive he’s ever taken,” stretching nearly 30 hours. Even most recently he recalled a moment when he met current left tackle and future NFL Hall of Famer Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns.

While his positions both on and off the field have never been headline grabbers, nor has he had the opportunity to stockpile gaudy stats, he’s been a pivotal member of several successful squads — from Edinboro to 30 hours away in Saskatchewan.

Mike Lantinen is the sports editor for The Spectator. He can be reached sports.spectator@gmail.com. 

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