Toronto Argonauts Alumni Association
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He was an Argo: Ellis Rainsberger
(July 23, 2021) The Association is saddened to learn that former Argonauts offensive line coach Ellis Rainsberger has passed away. He was 88.
Rainsberger (born October 20, 1932) was a former American football and Canadian football player, coach, and scout. He served as the head football coach at Washburn University (1962–1964), Southern Illinois University Carbondale (1966), and Kansas State University (1975–1977), compiling a career college football record of 27–42–1.
Rainsberger was the head coach of the USFL’s Pittsburgh Maulers for part of the 1984 season. Ellis was the offensive line coach with the Argonauts between 1986-88.
He was most recently a scout with the Tennessee Titans (2000–2004) and Miami Dolphins (2005–2007).
He was an Argo: Rick Mohr
(June 18, 2021) The Association is saddened to learn that former Argonauts and Saskatchewan Roughrider defensive end Rick Mohr of San Francisco passed away on June 6. He was 61.
Rick signed as a free agent with the Green Bay Packers in 1981. Released after playing two games, he signed with the Argos and headed north. He led the Argonauts in sacks with 9.5 for the season. His team played in the Eastern Final game and then the Grey Cup. In 1983 Rick continued to play for the Argos, again leading the team in sacks, this time with 15.5 (still the 3rd most in their history). He was selected to the Eastern Division All-Stars and the CFL’s All-Canadian All-Star team. His team played in the Eastern Final and the Grey Cup again, winning this time and securing a Grey Cup ring. It was the first Grey Cup win for the Argos in 31 years.
Rick concluded his playing career with the Roughriders in 1984 and 1985. Rick was a product of California-Davis.
CFL announces plans to return to play for 2021 season
(April 21, 2021 – cfl.ca) Canadian Football League (CFL) Commissioner Randy Ambrosie issued the following statement on Wednesday announcing the League’s Return-to-Play plans for the 2021 season:
“We will play CFL football in 2021.
“Our revised target date to start our regular season is August 5. To facilitate a 14-game season, for our players, fans and partners, we are re-scheduling the Grey Cup to December 12 in Hamilton, Ontario.
“I say ‘target date’ because our plans are subject to the state of COVID-19 across the country. A so-called ‘third wave’ in some provinces is forcing us today to postpone the start of our regular season, which had been scheduled for June 10.
VIRTUAL reunion next Wed., April 21 at 6:30 p.m.
We hope all former Argos can join us for the 10th Annual Toronto Argonauts Alumni Association VIRTUAL Reunion. If you’ve always wished to attend the physical reunions of the past but couldn’t, this is your chance.
An all star cast will include CFL Commissioner (and former Argo!) Randy Ambrosie, CFLPA boss Brian Ramsay, Argos President Bill Manning, General Manager Michael (Pinball) Clemons, Head Coach Ryan Dinwiddie, and CFL Alumni Association head Leo Ezerins.
Many Argo alumni have already registered!
You will need to register for the event. There is less than a week to go, so if you want to attend the event, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can put you on the list. A few days prior to the event, an email with the log-in details will be sent to the email address you have provided.
Stay safe and Double Blue. Hope to see you on the 21st!
DON’TCHA DARE MISS IT!
2004 Grey Cup added to games available on demand
(April 9, 2021 – cfl.ca) Damon Allen was named as the game’s MVP as the Argonuats beat the B.C. Lions 27-19 in the 9snd Grey Cup at Frank Clair Stadium in Ottawa.The Tragically Hip performed at halftime. You can relive the game by clicking on the 2004 Grey Cup link below.
The Grey Cup On Demand Portal powered by Mark’s is a new one-stop platform that will allow fans to watch Grey Cup games on demand for free on CFL.ca. 65 Grey Cup games will be available from the 1940’s to the 107th Grey Cup in Calgary. Below are the games involving the Argonauts that have been released so far:
1946 – Winnipeg vs. Toronto at Varsity Stadium
1950 – Toronto vs. Winnipeg at Varsity Stadium
1952 – Toronto vs. Edmonton at Varsity Stadium
1971 – Calgary vs. Toronto at Empire Stadium
1982 – Edmonton vs. Toronto at Exhibition Stadium
1983 – Toronto vs. B.C. at B.C. Place Stadium
1987 – Edmonton vs. Toronto at B.C. Place Stadium
1991 – Toronto vs. Calgary at Winnipeg Stadium
1996 – Toronto vs. Edmonton at Ivor Wynne Stadium
1997 – Toronto vs. Saskatchewan at Commonwealth Stadium
2004 – Toronto vs. B.C. at Frank Clair Stadium
He was an Argo: Tom Bland
The Association is saddened to learn that Tom Bland, Sr. age 83 of Casselberry, Florida passed away on March 8. He is survived by his wife Jane Bland, son Thomas Bland, Jr., and daughter Sydney Bland Jones.
He was an import receiver who played with the Argos in 1970. After that, he moved to Orlando, Florida and got into coaching and became the offensive coach University of Central Florida football program. From 1982-1984, he was the player personnel director for the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL under Steve Spurrier. In 1985, he served in that same role for the Orlando Renegades of the USFL under Lee Corso.
From 1991-1992, he was the receivers coach under Perry Moss of the Orlando Predators in the Arena Football League.
Tom was a successful businessman in the Orlando area, and a scratch golfer. He was inducted into the West Liberty University’s (Wheeling, West Virginia) Hall of Fame in 1992.”
He was an Argo: Zeke O’Connor
(March 7, 2021) The Toronto Argonauts Alumni Association has learned the sad news that we’ve lost another of the team’s warriors, Zeke O’Connor. He was 94.
William Francis “Zeke” O’Connor, Jr. (born May 2, 1926) played five seasons in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and the CFL in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He played on the Argos’ 1952 Grey Cup championship team and caught the winning touchdown pass.
After retiring, O’Connor went into business and incredibly devoted himself to helping Nepalese Sherpas.
O’Connor grew up in a large Catholic family in New York City and went to college at the University of Notre Dame. After starting for Notre Dame’s football team as a freshman in 1944, he spent two years in the U.S. Navy during World War II and played for a service team at Naval Station Great Lakes. O’Connor returned to Notre Dame in 1946 and graduated in 1947, but he did not play in his senior year because of a knee injury.
O’Connor signed in 1948 with the Buffalo Bills of the AAFC, where he played for one year. He was then traded to the Cleveland Browns. The Browns won the AAFC championship in 1949, but O’Connor was cut early the next year and played one season for the minor-league Jersey City Giants. He next had a one-year stint with the New York Yanks of the National Football League before his playing career in the CFL with the Argonauts. A late-game touchdown catch by O’Connor helped the Argonauts win the Grey Cup in 1952.
O’Connor worked for Sears in Canada after his playing career, and served as the color commentator for Grey Cup broadcasts from 1956 to 1981. He became friends with the famed mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary and helped establish a foundation in his name to benefit Sherpas in Nepal. On September 24, 2015, O’Connor was the recipient of the Sandy Hawley Community Service Award, awarded by the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario.
Zeke was often in attendance at Argo alumni events.
He was an Argo: Chris Schultz
(March 5, 2021 – tsn.ca) Chris Schultz, who played in both the NFL and CFL and eventually became a popular television football analyst, died on Thursday at the age of 61.
The native of Burlington, Ont., played left tackle for the Dallas Cowboys from 1983-86 and then nine seasons with the Toronto Argonauts, winning a Grey Cup in 1991.
He was a two-time CFL all-star and was selected to the Argos’ all-time team in 2007.
Sharing important lessons learned: Jason Colero
(Feb. 12, 2021 – argonauts.ca) Muhammad Ali once suggested that “A man who views the world at fifty as they did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.” That’s one reason why I am grateful to have started with the Argos as a ball boy at the age of 14, learning different life lessons over the course of the next 35 years. One aspect of my job today is the liaison between Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and the Argos Alumni. This has allowed me to tell the stories of the Argos of yesterday to the Argo fans of today and tomorrow.
In the spirit of Black History month, I want to share with you the lessons I learned from two former Argonauts. What brought me back to thinking about this pair was living in a time when it seems there’s nothing to do but watch television. I was reminded of Condredge Holloway’s 30 for 30 documentary and the project that John Williams co-executive produced and narrated. After re-watching these documentaries, I interviewed each man.
The untold story of Ken Whitlock, the first Black Argonaut
(Feb. 2, 2021 – argonauts.ca) When a team has played for almost 150 seasons, it’s not surprising that many players have faded from memory, simply forgotten over time. Sadly, that’s happened to Ken Whitlock Sr., though it shouldn’t be the case as he played a significant role in the history of the team.
He was the first Black player for the Toronto Argonauts.
Classic Grey Cups revisited: GREY CUP ON DEMAND PORTAL POWERED BY MARK’S
(Jan. 28, 2021) – Today, the Canadian Football League (CFL) released the first installment of Grey Cup games on the Grey Cup On Demand Portal powered by Mark’s. Note the league wants you to register your email address and postal code before viewing Grey Cups on demand.
A letter from Randy Ambrosie
(Jan. 22, 2021)
To the CFL Family:
We just wanted to check in and let you know how we’re doing. But most of all, we want you to know we’re thinking about you and wondering how you’re doing.
There’s no getting around it: this can feel like a dark time. Some of us are in “lock down”, most of us feel cooped up. It’s easy to feel down or get worked up.
Legendary Argo QBs get together (virtually)
(Nov. 24, 2020) During Grey Cup Unite week in the CFL, the Argos put together a QB round table with alumni Damon Allen, Joe Barnes, Condredge Holloway, Matt Nichols, Ricky Ray and Joe Theismann.
The boat logo is back
(Nov. 16, 2020) An important piece from Argonauts lore is new again.
The Toronto Argonauts announced today they will be bringing back the famous boat logo, with a modern twist. The current shield logo will still be used selectively as a secondary mark moving forward.
“We are so excited to bring back a logo that is beloved by so many Toronto Argonauts fans,” said Argos General Manager Michael “Pinball” Clemons. “This contemporary redesign of one of our most iconic emblems reinforces the great tradition of the Argonauts while continuously steering towards the horizon and our future. The boat is back, and our passion lives on!”
Seven Decades an Argo with the Legendary Pete Martin
(Oct. 30, 2020 by Mike Hogan) If there is someone who best personifies the Toronto Argonauts, “Pinball” Clemons would undoubtedly get the nod. He was a Hall-of-Fame player, he coached, he’s been the team president and now resides in the general manager’s office.
In the quest to find who would be second on that list, it would be tough to come up with a better name than that of Peter Martin.
Since joining the Argos as a player in 1965, Martin has also served as the long-time radio colour commentator, while acting as the president of the Argos Alumni Association.
The case of Ray’s missing ring
(Oct. 26, 2020 by Mike Hogan) A former Toronto Argonauts coach just went Charlie Sheen.
No, Ray Zaremba isn’t a warlock, he didn’t drink tiger blood, nor did he do anything illegal.
He did, however, upstage Jon Cryer.
Cryer, Sheen’s co-star in Two and a Half Men, made headlines this week when he lost, then recovered his wedding ring while filming in Vancouver. The story went viral.
But the likable actor has nothing on the former offensive line coach.
Former team owner David Braley dead at 79
(Oct. 26, 2020 by Steve Milton) Bob Young, the saviour of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, is sincere and succinct in his praise of David Braley, the saviour of three CFL teams and, arguably, of the league itself.
“You’re lost in admiration for what he did with his life,” Young said Monday after learning of the death of Braley at the age of 79. “It’s hard to imagine how the CFL would have survived without him helping so many times. And, of course, what he has done for the City of Hamilton, from the hospitals through to McMaster is nothing short of unique in its scale of philanthropy.”
Braley, who died in his Burlington home Monday following a longterm illness, had owned the B.C. Lions since 1996 after rescuing them from near-certain extinction at the suggestion of former Ticat general manager Mike McCarthy, who was then overseeing the debt-ridden and popularity-challenged franchise for the CFL. He owned the Toronto Argonauts from 2010-17, including a victory in the 100th Grey Cup in 2012.
CFL great Tommy Joe Coffey dies
(Aug. 26, 2020) CFL legend Tommy Joe Coffey passed away in Hamilton Aug. 25. Coffey, one of the best athletes in the history of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats was diagnosed with lung cancer in June and died in hospital Tuesday night. According to Tiger-Cat Alumni Association, there will be no local services for the legendary pass receiver and ashes will be buried at a later date in Sayre, Okla.
Although Coffey concluded his career with the Argos in 1973, he spent the majority of his career with the Edmonton Eskimos (1959-66) and Hamilton (1967-72). He was a seven-time All-Canadian All-Star, and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
League cancels 2020 season
(Aug. 17, 2020) Life during the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging and uncertain for everyone in the country and around the world. And earlier today, we received saddening news that the 2020 CFL season was cancelled, again, a result of the challenging times we are facing.
Although this is truly heartbreaking and unfortunate news, it is important that we accept this with the understanding that this decision focused on the health, safety and welfare of the players, fans and partners and their families. In doing so, we acknowledge their thoughtfulness and patience as the league and CFLPA worked together to find a safe way to get the players on the field this season.
We all know what it is like to have to deal with adversity, and the challenges that confront us in overcoming those episodes. So as we have done so many times before (and hopefully, if faced with difficult circumstances, we will again) we must move on to the 2021 campaign now.
Our game has stood the test of time many times before, and will again! Let’s “Pull Together” and make 2021 the best season in CFL history!
As Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”
Stay safe and Double Blue!
President, Toronto Argonauts Alumni Association
TSN names all-time Argo team
Former Argo QB Joseph joins Seahawks coaching staff
(Aug. 6, 2020) Former Toronto Argonauts quarterback Kerry Joseph has landed a National Football League coaching job. Joseph has been hired as an offensive assistant with the Seattle Seahawks, according to Michael Ball of CKRM 620 in Regina.
“I’ll be in the running back room assisting the running back coach Chad Morton. Offensive assistant, quality control, working and helping out in many facets. Learning the process and program coach Pete Carroll is running and grow from there,” said Joseph.
“My goal is to eventually at one point be an Offensive Coordinator. I’ve always had the dream of coaching in the NFL. When I got the call and asked if I was interested in the position, I went through the interview process virtually.”
Joseph played 12 seasons in the CFL for Toronto (2008 – 2009), Ottawa, Saskatchewan, and Edmonton, throwing for 28,097 yards, 148 touchdowns against 126 interceptions with a 58.4 completion rate. Before joining the Argos, he was named the CFL Most Outstanding Player in 2007, when he led the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a Grey Cup championship.
Uteck Goes into the Hall in the Builder category
(July 16, 2020) The Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum (CFHOF) announced its Class of 2020 which includes Larry Uteck posthumously as a foundational program-builder.
Uteck served as an Assistant coach at Saint Mary’s University in 1982, before being named Head Coach the following year – a position he held until 1994. He was a four-time Atlantic University Athletic Association (AUAA) Coach of the Year and a two-time Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (CIAU) Coach of the Year. During his tenure, the team captured seven AUAA titles, three Atlantic Bowls (1988, 1990 and 1992) and appeared in three Vanier Cups. As Athletic Director from 1995-2002, Uteck’s Huskies claimed two Vanier Cups (2001 and 2002) and won four (1999 to 2004) of an eventual six consecutive Atlantic University Sport conference championships. Uteck passed away in 2002. The Atlantic Bowl was renamed the Uteck Bowl in 2003.
Uteck also had a seven-year professional career in the CFL. As a defensive back, he played for the Argonauts (1974-76), BC Lions (1977), Montreal Alouettes (1978-1980) and Ottawa Rough Riders (1980). He was named an East Division all-star in 1975 and 1976.
Also, the Class of 2020 comprises offensive linemen Clyde Brock and Freddie Childress, quarterbacks Henry Burris and Greg Vavra, and former Calgary Stampeders Head Coach and current President and General Manager John Hufnagel.
Congratulations to the entire Class of 2020.
He was an Argo: Bill McFarlane
Bill was drafted first overall in the 1954 CFL Draft by the Argonauts. He went on to play three seasons at halfback/end with the Double Blue (1954-56). The Hamilton native notably made 10 interceptions in his rookie season with the Argos. Bill was a member of the undefeated Yates Cup winning 1951 Varsity Blues team at the University of Toronto which was recently inducted into the U of T Sports Hall of Fame.
Private family service and interment was held, with plans for a Celebration of Life to follow when safe to do so. If you wish, memorial donations may be made to ErinoakKids Centre for Treatment and Development, the Canadian Cancer Society, or the Alzheimer Society of Hamilton-Halton. Condolences may be made at www.dbburlington.ca.
Story at 3DownNation.com: If all CFL players became free agents, Argos’ Pinball Clemons contends it would be ‘craziness’
All-Time Roster: Now up-to-date!
If you ever played a single game for the Argos, you will find yourself on this list all the way from D.S. Abbott to Morris Zubkewych. Take a walk down memory lane…
Argo Alumni All-Time Roster