Frank Clair

Frank James Clair (May 12, 1917 – April 3, 2005) was an American gridiron football player, coach, and executive. Nicknamed "the Professor" for his ability to recognize and develop talent, he served as a head coach in the Canadian Football League (CFL) with the Toronto Argonauts from 1950 to 1954 and the Ottawa Rough Riders from 1956 to 1969. Clair ranks third all-time in CFL history with 147 regular season wins and first in postseason victories with 27. He is also tied for the most Grey Cup championships won by a head coach with five. He won the Annis Stukus Trophy as the CFL's coach of the year in 1966 and 1969.

Frank Clair
Statue of Frank Clair in TD Place Stadium
Born:(1917-05-12)May 12, 1917
Hamilton, Ohio
Died:April 3, 2005(2005-04-03) (aged 87)
Sarasota, Florida
Career information
Position(s)End
CollegeOhio State
Career history
As administrator
1970–1978Ottawa Rough Riders
As coach
1946Miami (OH) (assistant)
1947Purdue (ends)
1948–1949Buffalo
1950–1954Toronto Argonauts
1956–1969Ottawa Rough Riders
As player
1941Washington Redskins
Career stats

Playing career

Clair played end for the Ohio State Buckeyes, lettering in 1938, 1939, and 1940. As a receiver, he was quarterback Don Scott's favorite target. In 1941, Clair played in seven games for the Washington Redskins.

Coaching career

Clair found his greatest success in coaching. He was the head football coach at the University at Buffalo in 1948[1] and 1949.[2] During the 1950s, he coached the Toronto Argonauts to two Grey Cups in 1950[3] and 1952.[4]

In 1956, he joined the Ottawa Rough Riders. As coach, Clair led them to Grey Cup Championships in 1960, 1968 and 1969. After retiring from coaching following the 1969 season, became the team's general manager, where they won Grey Cups in 1973 and 1976. He was let go by the team in 1978. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1981.

The stadium at Lansdowne Park was renamed Frank Clair Stadium in his honour on April 8, 1993. He was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.[5] Clair lived in retirement and died in Sarasota, Florida.[6] In 2014, the stadium was renamed TD Place, and the operators erected a statue of Clair in his honour.

Head coaching record

College

Year Team Overall ConferenceStanding Bowl/playoffs
Buffalo Bulls (Independent) (1948–1949)
1948 Buffalo 6–1–1
1949 Buffalo 6–3
Buffalo: 12–4–1
Total:12–4–1

CFL

TeamYearRegular SeasonPost Season
WonLostTiesWin %FinishWonLostResult
TOR1950 651.5422nd in IRFU31Won Grey Cup
TOR1951 750.5833rd in IRFU11Lost in IRFU Semi-Finals
TOR1952 741.6252nd in IRFU41Won Grey Cup
TOR1953 590.3574th in IRFU--Missed Playoffs
TOR1954 680.4293rd in IRFU--Missed Playoffs
TOR Total 31312.5000 East Division
Championships
832 Grey Cups
OTT1956 770.5003rd in IRFU01Lost in Division Semi-Finals
OTT1957 860.5712nd in IRFU01Lost in Division Semi-Finals
OTT1958 680.4293rd in IRFU Division12Lost in Division Finals
OTT1959 860.5712nd in East Division21Lost in Division Finals
OTT1960 950.6432nd in East Division40Won Grey Cup
OTT1961 860.5712nd in East Division01Lost in Division Semi-Finals
OTT1962 671.4642nd in East Division01Lost in Division Semi-Finals
OTT1963 950.6432nd in East Division21Lost in Division Finals
OTT1964 851.6072nd in East Division21Lost in Division Finals
OTT1965 770.5002nd in East Division12Lost in Division Finals
OTT1966 1130.7861st in East Division21Lost Grey Cup
OTT1967 941.6792nd in East Division12Lost in Division Finals
OTT1968 932.7141st in East Division21Won Grey Cup
OTT1969 1130.7861st in East Division21Won Grey Cup
OTT Total 116755.6053 East Division
Championships
19163 Grey Cups
Total 1471067.5793 East Division
Championships
27195 Grey Cups

See also

References

  1. "1948 Buffalo Football," University at Buffalo Sports History Collection - January 29, 2014.
  2. "1949 Buffalo Football," University at Buffalo Sports History Collection - May 8, 2014.
  3. "Argonauts lay claim to legendary Mud Bowl". CFL.ca. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  4. "O'Connor's late score lifts Argos over Eskimos". CFL.ca. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  5. "Frank Clair". Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  6. "CFL Legend Frank Clair passes". Esksfans.com. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
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