Pinball Clemons

From Academic Kids

Michael Lutrell "Pinball" Clemons, OOnt, (b. January 15, 1965) is the current head coach—and one of the most famous former players—of the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. Pinball, born and raised in Dunedin, Florida, played as a running back for twelve seasons with the Argos, and has been their head coach since December 17, 2002. Clemons is 5'6" (167 cm) tall and weighs in at 170 pounds (77 kg). This diminutive size allowed him to bounce between defensive players, much like a pinball inside a pinball machine.

Playing career

Pinball played NCAA Division I-AA football on a football scholarship at the College of William and Mary. In his four-year college playing career, Pinball amassed a total of 4,778 yards and 31 touchdowns. He was also named a Division I-AA All-American and Virginia major college offensive player of the year in 1986.

Clemons was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs and played for the Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League before going to Toronto in 1989 to play in the CFL.

In twelve seasons with the Argonauts, Clemons established himself as one of the greatest players the CFL has ever seen, and was a Grey Cup champion three times. The nickname "Pinball" was given by Argos head coach Bob O'Billovich when describing his offensive style. Clemons retired on September 15, 2000 to become the head coach of the Argonauts.

Clemons set CFL career and single-season records for most combined yards (rushing, receiving, punt returns, kickoff returns and missed-field-goal returns). He was named the league's most outstanding player in 1990 and was voted a division all-star at three different positions (running back, slotback and special teams) over his 12-year playing career.

Coaching career

Clemons became head coach of the Toronto Argonauts upon ending his playing career on September 15, 2000. In November 2001, he was promoted to president of the Argonauts.

Pinball returned officially as head coach of the Argonauts on December 17, 2002 after taking over as interim coach for the second half of the 2002 season. Pinball Clemons was nominated for CFL Coach of the Year in 2002, 2003 and 2004. He became the first black head coach to win the Grey Cup in 2004.

Achievements

  • Record for career all-purpose yardage (25,402)
  • Record for single-season all-purpose yardage (3,840)
  • Recorded over 5,000 career yards in rushing (5,232), pass receptions (7,015), kickoff returns (6,349), and punt returns (6,025)
  • Argonauts team records for 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)
  • Argonauts team records for single-season punt return yards (1,070), punt returns (111), and kickoff returns (49)
  • Argonauts team record for single-game kickoff returns (8)
  • CFL outstanding player (1990)
  • Three-time Grey Cup champion as a player (1991, 1996, 1997)
  • One-time Grey Cup champion as a head coach (2004)
  • Two-time CFL all-star (1990, 1997)
  • Four-time division all-star (1990, 1993, 1994, 1997)
  • Two-time Tom Pate Award winner (1993, 1996)
  • Order of Ontario (2001)
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