|No. 31 Toronto Argonauts|
|Born:||January 15, 1965|
|Height||5 ft 6 in (168 cm)|
|Weight||170 lb (77 kg)|
|College||William & Mary|
|NFL draft||1987 / Round: 8 / Pick: 218|
|Drafted by||Kansas City Chiefs|
|2001–2002||Toronto Argonauts (President)|
|2003||Toronto Argonauts (GM)|
|2008||Toronto Argonauts (CEO)|
|2009–2019||Toronto Argonauts (Vice-Chair)|
|2019–present||Toronto Argonauts (GM)|
|2000–2001||Toronto Argonauts (HC)|
|2002–2007||Toronto Argonauts (HC)|
|1987||Kansas City Chiefs|
|1988||Tampa Bay Buccaneers*|
|*Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career highlights and awards|
|CFL All-Star||1990, 1997|
|CFL East All-Star||1990, 1994, 1997|
|Awards||1990 Jeff Russel Trophy |
1990 CFL MOP
1993 Tom Pate Memorial Award
1996 Tom Pate Memorial Award
|Retired #s||31 (Toronto Argonauts)|
|Records||CFL Most Combined Yards, All-Time Regular Season: 25,438 |
Michael Lutrell "Pinball" Clemons ft 6 in (167 cm) tall and weighs 170 pounds (77 kg).(born January 15, 1965) is an American-Canadian sports executive and former running back and return specialist who serves as general manager for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Clemons played with the Argonauts for twelve seasons where he was a two-time All-Star and a three-time Grey Cup Champion, and twice served as their head coach before becoming an administrator, since winning three more Grey Cups. His no. 31 jersey is one of only four that have been retired by the Argonauts. He is one of the most famous former Argos players, and is also one of the most popular professional athletes in the history of Toronto. Clemons has stated that he feels CFL football is the best football in the world. Clemons is 5
Clemons was born and raised in Dunedin, Florida to an 18-year-old single mother, Anna Marie Bryant, who had just graduated from a segregated high school.His father, Willie Clemons, lived an hour and a half away from them while finishing up his university education and later became a school teacher.
Clemons started playing football at age 8 with the Dunedin Golden Eagles, a youth organization co-ordinated by the Police Athletic League.
Clemons and his mother lived in public housing across the street from the city's sewer plant until he was 14 years old.At this point in Clemons' life, his mother married his stepfather and would also become the first African-American to get an administrative job for the City of Dunedin.
Clemons's mother was also a heavy influence in him becoming a devout Christian as she was also a clerk at a Baptist church in Dunedin.Clemons and his family currently attend the Meeting House in Oakville, Ontario.
Clemons later formed a relationship with his father, Willie, during his college years.Even then, the relationship between him and his father was more like a nephew to an uncle, being limited to visits during his family vacations down in Florida and regular phone calls. Willie was also invited to the 2003 CFL Eastern Division semi-final game his son was coaching in Toronto vs. the B.C. Lions, marking the first time his father had actually seen him in any capacity with the Argonauts. Shortly afterwards, his father died.
Clemons graduated with a degree in economics from the College of William & Marywhere he played running back and return specialist on the football team, as well as playing varsity soccer for a year. In his four-year college football career, he compiled 4,778 all-purpose yards and was named a Division I-AA all-American.
In 1987, Clemons was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League. During the 1987 NFL season, Clemons played in eight games, predominantly as a punt returner, where he collected 19 returns for 162 yards.
When Clemons first joined the Toronto Argonauts in 1989, guest running backs coach Tom Cudney nicknamed him "Pinball" because of his running style. His diminutive size and extraordinary balance allowed him to bounce between defensive players much like a pinball inside a pinball machine. During home games, The Who song "Pinball Wizard" would play on the P.A. each time Clemons was involved in a great play. In his first game with the Argonauts, Clemons was named the player of the game. In 1990, Clemons received the CFL's Most Outstanding Player Award after setting a single season record for all-purpose yards (3,300). The following year, Clemons won his very first football championship as his Argonauts defeated the Calgary Stampeders to win the Grey Cup. Clemons went on to win two more Grey Cups as a player when Doug Flutie led Argonauts won back-to-back titles during the 1996 & 1997 seasons. In 1997, Clemons surpassed his own single season all-purpose yards record from 1990 by recording 3,840 all-purpose yards. This mark stood until 2012, when it was broken by Chad Owens. On September 15, 2000, Clemons played his last ever game as an Argonaut. During his 12-year playing career with the Argonauts he set many team records including career pass receptions (682), punt return yards (6,025), punt returns (610), punt return touchdowns (8), kickoff return yards (6,349), and kickoff returns (300). He also set single season single-season punt return yards (1,070 in 1997), punt returns (111 in 1997), and kickoff returns (49 in 1997). Clemons also amassed a career 25,438 combined yards during the regular season, a CFL record.
In 2008, Clemons was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. And in 2009, Clemons was also inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.
Upon ending his playing career, Clemons became interim head coach of the Toronto Argonauts in 2000, replacing John Huard, who resigned after compiling a 1–6–1 record. When offered the head coaching job by team general manager J. I. Albrecht, Clemons was reluctant to accept it, wanting to spend more time with his family. According to Clemons, "it was an awkward situation. After saying no, they said do us the favour of going home and discussing it with your family. The burden was that this team, this organization, had given our family so much that Canada was going to be our home. The Argos had everything to do with my family becoming a part of this country. Because of all I had been given I decided it was my time to reciprocate."As interim head coach, Clemons coached the Argos to 6 wins out of their remaining 8 games. He had the interim tag removed from his title at the end of the season. In November 2001, he was promoted to President of the Argonauts and relinquished his role as head coach in the process to Gary Etcheverry.
When Etcheverry was fired as head coach on September 17, 2002, Clemons returned as head coach on an interim basis with 6 games remaining in the 2002 CFL season. Clemons was officially given the head coaching job again on December 17, 2002, while also relinquishing his role as team president. He remained the head coach until 2007. Clemons was nominated for the Annis Stukus Trophy every year from 2002 to 2007, coming up short each time.
In the 2004 CFL season, Clemons was the first black head coach to ever appear in a Grey Cup game. He became the first black head coach to win a Grey Cup championship during that same Grey Cup game, while also being the second black coach to ever guide his team to a pro football championship in North America. (Darren Arbet of the San Jose SaberCats was the first to do so in 2002 with an ArenaBowl XVI victory.) Clemons downplayed this milestone achievement, saying, "To tell you the truth, I don't know what it means to be the first Black coach in the (Grey) Cup and to win it. I know that I can't do anything by myself, and on my own strength I'm very little good. Anything I accomplish has to be with the aid of individuals, and this team became like a family and is a family, it had very little to do with the colour of my skin".
Clemons has the second most head coaching wins in Argonauts history with 67. (Bob O'Billovich is first with 89.) Clemons' record is 67–54–1 in the regular season over parts of seven seasons, with a 6–5 playoff record (including 1–0 in his lone Grey Cup appearance). As a coach, his nickname was often shortened to "Pinner" by his players. After retiring as head coach, he became the team's chief executive officer in 2008.
From November 2001 to September 2002, Clemons served as the Toronto Argonauts President. He ended his tenure as President to resume his second stint as the team's head coach. In 2003, Clemons shared both responsibilities as the team's head coach & general manager. Though he was the de facto GM of the Argonauts as a result of an administrative shake up of the team, much of the player roster management duties were deferred to Greg Mohns, the team's director of football operations & player personnel. Clemons would relinquish his GM title to Adam Rita at the end of the season. On December 4, 2007, Clemons stepped down as head coach of the Argonauts to become their new Chief Executive Officer. At the end of the 2008 Toronto Argonauts season, Clemons announced that he would no longer act in the day-to-day business of the organization and on May 6, 2009, Bob Nicholson was announced as the new president and chief executive officer of the Argonauts. On that same day, Clemons was appointed the Vice-Chair of the team. In his new role, Clemons advises the president & C.E.O. on key sales and corporate partner programs, significant community initiatives, and brand and media relations.On October 8, 2019, Clemons was named as the new general manager of the team, replacing Jim Popp who was relieved of his GM duties with 4 games remaining in the 2019 Toronto Argonauts season. Clemons would also work closely with John Murphy, the team's vice president of player personnel, in assembling the roster.
Clemons is also a motivational speaker, making frequent public appearances throughout the community. He is also a partner of the children's brand Simply Kids, a line of diapers, baby food and healthcare products found in supermarkets across Canada and the United States.
Currently, Clemons resides in Oakville, Ontario with his wife, Diane (a native Floridian), and three daughters (who were all born in Canada). His oldest daughter, Rachel, is 22, his middle daughter Raven is 19, and his youngest daughter Rylie is now 17. Clemons has described himself (borrowing a quote from C.D. Howe) as an "American by birth but Canadian by choice". 978-0-470-83690-3) a biography written by Perry Lefko published in 2006.In 2000, Clemons became a permanent resident of Canada. It had once been suggested that Clemons had remained an American citizen to rebuff any calls for him to run for political office, such as for mayor of Toronto. Clemons was the subject of Pinball: The Making of a Canadian Hero ( ISBN
In April 2007, he visited Calderstone Middle School in Brampton to help start a reading program.
On August 21, 2007, Clemons founded the "Michael 'Pinball' Clemons Foundation" which is dedicated to helping disadvantaged youth.
On March 23, 2009, Clemons appeared on the CTV News @ 6 as a celebrity guest host to do the weather in celebration of Dave Devall's retirement. He is currently working with Marc Kielburger and Craig Kielburger, founders of Free the Children, in an initiative to build schools and clean water systems in Africa.
On November 14, 2012, Clemons visited and gave a speech about life topics in Markham, Ontario for York Regional District School Board's annual QUEST Forum to promote Student Achievement and Well-Being.
On February 28, 2014, Clemons visited the Scouts Canada National Leadership summit to speak about teamwork and working as one team to kick off the new program and strategic plan announcement.
On April 28, 2015, Clemons officially became a naturalized citizen of Canada.
Clemons was recognized on February 10, 2017 by the College of William and Mary, his alma mater, with an honorary degree during Charter Day ceremonies, where he also was principal speaker.
From February 10–26, 2017, Clemons partnered with Global Pet Foods (Q57985699) and Air Miles for the "Show Us Your Heart" event.Its goal is to raise money for homeless pets, rescue groups, and animal shelters across Canada through donations made at Global Pet Food stores.
Michael "Pinball" Clemons has received honorary degrees from several universities. These include:
|Ontario||Fall 2000||York University||Doctor of Laws (LL.D)|
|Ontario||June 2013||Humber College|
|Virginia||February 10, 2017||College of William & Mary||Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL)|
In 2012 in honour of the 100th Grey Cup, Canada Post used his image on a series of commemorative postage stamps. The image was also used on presentation posters and other materials to promote the Grey Cup game and other celebrations associated with the centennial.
|Team||Year||Regular Season||Post Season|
|TOR||2000||5||3||0||.625||4th in East Division||–||–||Missed Playoffs|
|TOR||2001||7||11||0||.389||4th in East Division||–||–||Missed Playoffs|
|TOR||2002||4||2||0||.667||2nd in East Division||1||1||Lost in Division Finals|
|TOR||2003||9||9||0||.500||2nd in East Division||1||1||Lost in Division Finals|
|TOR||2004||10||7||1||.583||2nd in East Division||3||0||Won Grey Cup|
|TOR||2005||11||7||0||.611||1st in East Division||0||1||Lost in Division Finals|
|TOR||2006||10||8||0||.556||2nd in East Division||1||1||Lost in Division Finals|
|TOR||2007||11||7||0||.611||1st in East Division||0||1||Lost in Division Finals|
|Total||67||54||1||.553||2 East Division|
|6||5||1 Grey Cup|
Assistants under Clemons that became NFL, CFL, or NCAA head coaches:
The Toronto Argonauts are a professional Canadian football team competing in the East Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Based in Toronto, Ontario, the team was founded in 1873, and is the oldest existing professional sports team in North America still using its original name, and they are the oldest-surviving team in both the modern-day CFL and East Division. The team's origins date back to a modified version of rugby football that emerged in North America in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The Argonauts played their home games at Rogers Centre from 1989 until 2016 when the team moved to BMO Field, the fifth stadium site to host the team.
Chad Owens Sr. is a professional Canadian football wide receiver and kick returner who is currently a free agent. He was most recently a member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the sixth round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Owens played college football at Hawaii. He spent six seasons playing for the Toronto Argonauts, and has also been a member of the Montreal Alouettes and Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Arland Richard Bruce III is a former Canadian football wide receiver. He is a two-time Grey Cup champion, having won in 2004 with the Toronto Argonauts and in 2011 with the Lions. He has played 10 seasons in the CFL with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Toronto Argonauts, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and BC Lions. During the 2011 season, he became the 14th CFL receiver to record over 10,000 yards receiving in a career.
Matt Dunigan is an American broadcaster and former professional football player and executive. He is a Canadian Football League (CFL) sportscaster for Canadian sports television channel TSN. Dunigan is a former quarterback, coach, and executive in the CFL. In 2006, Dunigan joined the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, and was voted one of the CFL's Top 50 players (#39) of the league's modern era by Canadian sports network TSN.
Adam Rita is a gridiron football coach & general manager, most notably in the Canadian Football League. He has served as the head coach of the Toronto Argonauts, Ottawa Rough Riders, and BC Lions and as general manager of the Lions and Argonauts. Since retiring from the CFL in 2012, Rita has been coaching gridiron football in Europe while concurrently coaching high school football in Canada. He is currently the head coach of the Spanish professional team Barcelona Dragons (ELF), in the newly formed ELF.
Bill Symons is a former professional Canadian football running back with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.
Orlondo Steinauer is the head coach for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League (CFL). As a player, he played professional Canadian football as a safety for 13 seasons with the Ottawa Rough Riders, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts from 1996 to 2008. He finished his career second all-time in CFL history for interception return yards with 1178 yards. Steinauer was a two-time Grey Cup champion as a player after winning in 1999 with the Tiger-Cats and in 2004 with the Argonauts. He has also won a championship as a coach, winning the 100th Grey Cup as the defensive backs coach for the Toronto Argonauts in 2012.
Jeff Johnson is a former professional Canadian football running back who played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL).
Justin Charles Medlock is an American professional football player who is a placekicker for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He played college football for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and earned consensus All-American honors. The Kansas City Chiefs selected him in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Medlock has also played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Toronto Argonauts and Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL, as well as the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League (NFL).
Richard Stubler is a professional Canadian football coach. He was most recently the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He is a five-time Grey Cup champion, all as a defensive coordinator, and was formerly the head coach of the Toronto Argonauts. He has been coaching since the 1970s and has coached at the high school level, NCAA, Arena Football League and the CFL.
All-purpose yards or all-purpose yardage is a gridiron football statistical measure. It is virtually the same as the statistic that some football leagues refer to as combined net yards. In the game of football, progress is measured by advancing the football towards the opposing team's goal line. Progress can be made during play by the offensive team by advancing the ball from its point of progress at the start of play known as the line of scrimmage or by the defensive team after taking possession of the football via a change of possession. When the offensive team advances the ball by rushing the football, the player who carries the ball is given credit for the difference in progress measured in rushing yards. When the offensive team advances the ball by pass reception, the player who catches the reception is given credit for the difference in progress measured in reception yards. Although the ball may also be advanced by penalty, these yards are not considered all-purpose yards. Progress lost via quarterback sacks is classified variously. Thus, all-purpose yards is a combined total of rushing yards, receiving yards, and all forms of return yards only. Some sources do not specify which types of return yards count toward this total because the most common forms of return yards are kick and punt return yards.
The 2008 Toronto Argonauts season was the 51st season for the team in the Canadian Football League and 136th season overall. The Argonauts attempted to win their 16th Grey Cup, but they failed to make the playoffs ending the season on a nine-game losing streak.
Markus Howell is the receivers coach for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He is a former professional Canadian football wide receiver and kick returner who played for 11 years for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Ottawa Renegades, and Calgary Stampeders. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2000 CFL Draft by the Blue Bombers. He won a Grey Cup championship in 2008. He played college football at Texas Southern.
Matthew Black is a former professional Canadian football defensive back who played ten seasons with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He won two Grey Cup championships in 2012 and 2017.
The 100th Grey Cup was a Canadian football game between the East Division champion Toronto Argonauts and the West Division champion Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League to decide the Grey Cup champions of the 2012 season.
Cassius M. Vaughn is a former Canadian football defensive back. He was signed by the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 2010. He played college football at Ole Miss. In the NFL, Vaughn has also played for the Indianapolis Colts, Detroit Lions Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers. He made his CFL debut in 2016 with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Zackary Medeiros is a professional Canadian football placekicker and punter who is currently a free agent. He most recently played for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. He was originally drafted 48th overall by the Edmonton Eskimos in the 2014 CFL Draft. He won his first Grey Cup championship while playing for the Ottawa Redblacks in the 104th Grey Cup game.
Llevi Noel is a professional Canadian football wide receiver who currently plays for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He is a Grey Cup champion after winning the 105th Grey Cup with the Argonauts in 2017.
The 2019 Toronto Argonauts season was the 62nd season for the team in the Canadian Football League and their 147th season overall. The Argonauts finished with a 4–14 record, matching their win-loss record from a year prior, and did not qualify for the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Kurleigh Gittens Jr. is a professional Canadian football wide receiver for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He played U Sports football for the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks where he was the OUA Most Valuable Player in 2017.
Media related to Pinball Clemons at Wikimedia Commons
|Awards and achievements|
| Grey Cup winning Head Coach |
92nd Grey Cup, 2004