Geroy Simon, Brian Towriss among 6 inducted in Canadian Football Hall of Fame

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March 22, 2017 - 8:39pm
Former Saskatchewan Roughrider and B.C. Lion Geroy Simon was announced as an inductee into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame on March 22, 2017. Former University of Saskatchewan Huskies head coach Brian Towriss was announced as an inductee into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame on March 22, 2017.
Johany Jutras/Canadian Football League
Former Saskatchewan Roughrider and B.C. Lion Geroy Simon was announced as an inductee into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame on March 22, 2017.
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The Canadian Football Hall of Fame announced six new inductees on Wednesday night during CFL Week. Here’s a look at the men being honoured.

Geroy Simon

Consider adding Geroy Simon to the Hall of Fame as one of the easiest decision the committee had to make.

Simon played 237 CFL games in his 15 seasons in the CFL. He is CFL the all-time leading receiver with 16,352 yards, the all-time leader in pass receptions at 1,029 and third in all-time receptions with 103. Simon is a three-time Grey Cup Champion, winning two with the B.C. Lions in 2006 and 2011 and one with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2013.

“Every place I’ve been I tried to make an impact, I think I did that here,” Simon said Wednesday night.

“I’m grateful for my time here. I’m grateful for the fans and the organization for welcoming me with open arms. I’m thankful for the Riders, I’m thankful for the Lions and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for giving me a great opportunity to play a game I love. And my 15 years in the CFL has definitely been amazing and special.”

Simon played almost his entire career with the B.C. Lions and returned to the team’s front office after announcing his retirement in 2014. Currently, Simon works as a scout and mentor for the Lions and continues to be an ambassador for the CFL.

Brian Towriss

Brian Towriss is a legend in university level football, not only in Saskatchewan where he coached the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, but across Canada as well. Towriss stepped down from his position as head coach amidst some controversy at the end of 2016, but his quick induction shows his value across the Canadian university sport landscape and beyond.  

“I was fairly emotional when I got the call from Commissioner Orridge, for sure, surprised, early in the morning and it came as a very pleasant surprise,” Towriss said, adding he’s in a good place despite how “everything came down” at the end of the year.

Moose Jaw-born Towriss’s storied career with the Huskies began in 1984. He became the winningest coach in U Sports (CIS) history in 2011. When he retired he had won a record 196 games and coached 315.

Towriss also holds the record for most appearances as a head coach in the Vanier Cup with nine appearances, three of which were wins. He said after all those years, and some professional offers, it was the students in the end that kept him in Saskatoon for as long as he was.

“I was so fortunate to go to work with 85 highly intelligent, highly motivated kids every day,” he said. “Our kids were playing for the love of the game and not for the paycheque … they gave you everything that they had every day.”

Anthony Calvillo

Putting Anthony Calvillo in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame is a no-brainer.

Calvillo amassed the most career passing yards in professional football at 79,816, the most career touchdown passes at 46, the most career pass completions at 5,892, most career pass attempts at 9,437 and the most career passing yards in Grey Cup games at 2,470. Speaking of Grey Cups, he’s won three of them, taking home one Grey Cup MVP award. Over his career he has also won the league-wide Most Outstanding Player award three times, and he’s been named to countless all-star teams.

Calvillo’s career began with the expansion team the Las Vegas Posse. After it folded, Calvillo went to the Tiger-Cats for three seasons before landing in Montreal where he found his stride and finished his playing career. These days Calvillo can still be found in the halls he used to roam, working as the Alouette’s quarterback coach.

Mike O’Shea

Before Mike O’Shea became the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, he had a successful 16-year playing career. The former linebacker won three Grey Cups, played in 271 games – the most ever by any defensive player – and is second on the CFL’s all-time tackles list with 1,151. O’Shea was also the first Canadian ever to make at least 1,000 tackles in a career.

O’Shea was released by the Argos in 2009, but by 2010 he was back in the double blue as the special teams coordinator. He spent three seasons there, winning a Grey Cup in 2012. In 2013 he made the jump to head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. In the offseason, he signed a three-year contract extension. In the years to come, perhaps O’Shea may also enter the Hall of Fame as a coach.

Stan Schwartz

For 40 years, Stan Schwartz was an institution for the Calgary Stampeders and now he’s being recognized by the Canadian Football Hall of Fame for his contributions.

His storied career in the Stampeders organization began in 1976 as an assistant coach, a position he held for eight years before turning over to the administrative side of the game. He became the manager of McMahon Stadium and helped significantly with the Calgary Olympics. His next stop was back to the Stampeders organization in 1995 when he took over as vice-president and general manager-administration. A year later he was named the club president, a position he stayed in for a successful eight-year run. During his time as president the club hosted a Grey Cup in 2000, and won two in 1998 and 2001.

Schwartz was inducted into the Alberta Football Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2009 he was awarded the CFL’s Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award. Now he’ll join the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in the builder category.

Kelvin Anderson

Kelvin Anderson joins the Canadian Football Hall of Fame still holding the record for the most consecutive 1,000 yard rushing seasons. Anderson’s eight season run began with Calgary in 1996. Arguably, his best season came in 2001 when he rushed for a career-high 1,383 yards and six touchdowns while also catching 48 passes for 433 yards and nine touchdowns. He was also named a western all-star for the fifth consecutive season. Anderson finished his career, and got his eighth thousand-yard season, as a B.C. Lion. He retired in 2004.