Don Matthews heads 2011 CFL Hall of Fame inductees
Montford, McManus, Flynn, Lehmann, Vaughn and Fracas also inducted
The Don is heading for permanent residence in Steeltown.
Don Matthews, who amassed 231 career victories and 10 Grey Cup victories as a CFL coach, headlines the list of 2011 inductees into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
Joining Matthews will be former players Joe Montford, Danny McManus, Chris Flynn, Ken Lehmann and Terry Vaughn while Gino Fracas will be inducted posthumously with Matthews in the builder's category.
The class of 2011 was formally announced Thursday night and will formally be inducted in September. The newest inductees will boost the Hall of Fame's overall membership to 251 individuals at its location in Hamilton.
Matthews began his CFL coaching career as an assistant with the Edmonton Eskimos in 1977 before being promoted to defensive co-ordinator the following season. He helped the club win five straight Grey Cup titles from 1978-'82 before being named the B.C. Lions head coach in 1983.
Matthews spent 22 seasons as a CFL head coach with B.C., Baltimore, Saskatchewan, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal, reaching the Grey Cup nine times and winning a record five championships as a head coach.
But Matthews was much more than just a successful football coach. He was a larger than life figure who always loved the spotlight. He had a high-risk, high-reward philosophy that's made him one of the most prolific head coaches in CFL history and had a reputation of being a player's coach.
He routinely called out reporters if he felt he was being asked an inappropriate question and could sometimes be as abrasive as sandpaper when dealing with the media. Ironically, though, five times he was voted as the CFL's coach of the year in voting by the Football Reporters of Canada.
Loved playing for Matthews
Players traditionally loved playing for Matthews because they knew he'd take care of them and create an atmosphere for them to win and succeed. During the regular season, Matthews' teams rarely hit during practice and Matthews routinely allowed his players to be themselves and participate in creating the weekly game plan.
Yet Matthews was careful not to get too close or chummy with his players, and with good reason. At times, he was ruthless when it came to making tough personnel decisions and he wasn't afraid to bench a veteran or cut him outright if he wasn't producing.
But players never had to worry about Matthews playing mind games with them. He was always up front and honest with them, brutally sometimes, and was more than willing to give them enough rope to hang themselves with.
McManus spent 17 seasons in the CFL, playing for Winnipeg, B.C., Edmonton, Hamilton and Calgary. He earned three Grey Cup titles and named the league's outstanding player in 1999. When McManus retired in 2006, he was second all-time in passing yards (53,255).
Montford was one of the most relentless pass rushers in CFL history.
Over his 12-year career with Shreveport, Hamilton, Toronto and Edmonton, he registered 135 sacks (fifth-highest all-time total) and three times was named the CFL's top defensive player. In 1999, he had a CFL-leading 26 sacks — just a half sack behind James (Quick) Parker's league record — and played for two Grey Cup-winning teams (1999 with Hamilton, 2005 with Edmonton).
One of the league's top receivers
Over his 12-year CFL career, Vaughn established himself as one of the league's top receivers. During his tenure with Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton and Montreal, Vaughn became the first receiver in league history to surpass 1,000 career catches.
When Vaughn retired after the 2006 season, he was the league's career receiving leader with 1,006 catches — since surpassed by the recently retired Ben Cahoon at 1,017 career receptions — for 13,746 yards and 73 touchdowns. The two-time Grey Cup champion also holds the CFL record for most consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons with 11.
Flynn guided the Saint Mary's Huskies to a 27-2 record during his college career, leading the team to a pair of Vanier Cup appearances. Three times he captured the Hec Crighton Trophy as Canadian university football's outstanding player and three times was named an All-Canadian quarterback.
Lehmann played middle linebacker for the Ottawa Rough Riders from 1964 to '71 and was part of two Grey Cup-winning squads (1968-'69).
A four-time league all-star, Lehmann was a finalist for the league's top lineman award in 1966 before winning it two years later.
Fracas began his coaching career at the University of Alberta in 1963 before becoming the first-ever head football coach at the University of Windsor in 1967. He led the Lancers to the CCIFC championship in 1969 as well as an OUAA title in 1975 before being named the conference's top coach in 1976-'77.
He died in October 2009 at the age of 79 and the CIS football volunteer coach of the year award is named in his honour.