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Hall of Famers

Hall of Famer


Inducted in 1985

Member Details

Date of Birth: October 14, 1938
Place of Birth: Fairchance, Pennsylvania
Date of Passing: September 18, 2008
Sport: Football
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights


Grey Cup - Ottawa


Grey Cup - Saskatchewan


Grey Cup - Edmonton (coach)


Grey Cup - Hamilton (coach)



The quarterback is the leader on the football field. Off the field, it's the coach. Ron Lancaster is one of those rare athletes who could lead successfully in both capacities. Nicknamed "The Little General," Lancaster set the standard for quarterbacking excellence in the CFL. Yet he could just as easily be honoured for his skills on the sideline as an award- and Grey Cup-winning coach. Lancaster joined the CFL following a successful college football career at Wittenburg University in Ohio. He earned a spot on the Ottawa Rough Riders' roster in 1960 and for the next three seasons competed for playing time with another Canada Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Russ Jackson. The team won the Grey Cup in 1960 with Jackson at the helm, but the competition for playing time between the quarterbacks was too divisive and in 1963 Lancaster was traded to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. It was on the Prairies that he established his reputation as one of the best quarterbacks in CFL history. Over the next 16 years, Lancaster quarterbacked the Roughriders to five Grey Cup games and, in 1966, he led the franchise to its first national championship. In the process, he established nearly every CFL quarterbacking record. He was five-time Western Conference outstanding player of the year and seven-time Western Conference quarterback of the year. In 1970 and 1976, Lancaster received the Schenley Award as the CFL's outstanding player. He led the CFL in passage yardage five times and was the All-Canadian quarterback in 1970, 1973, 1975, and 1976. At the conclusion of his illustrious 19-season career, Lancaster held the CFL records for completed passes (3,384), and touchdowns (333), as well as the professional football record for career passing yards (50,535). After two unsuccessful seasons as coach of the Roughriders, Lancaster spent the 1980s working as a football commentator on television broadcasts. He returned to coaching in 1991 with the Edmonton Eskimos. He coached Edmonton until 1997, winning the Grey Cup in 1993 and losing the 1996 contest. He joined the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as coach and director of football operations in 1998 and immediately turned around the moribund franchise by leading it to an appearance in the Grey Cup game. A year later, Hamilton captured the league championship. Lancaster, who retired to the front office in 2003, has been named CFL coach-of-the-year twice and in 2006 he returned to the sidelines as the Tiger-Cats' interim coach.