Michael "Pinball" Clemons
Inducted in 2016
Canadian Football League's Most Outstanding Player of the year
Named Canadian Football League All-Star
Won three Grey Cup Championships with the Toronto Argonauts
Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons began his incredible career in the Canadian Football League in 1989 after having played for a brief time in the National Football League. At only 5 feet 5 inches and 166 pounds, he was never the biggest player on the field, unless you were sizing up his spirit. Michael’s nickname ‘Pinball’ was affectionately given to him for his running style, limitless energy, and extraordinary balance, which allowed him to bounce off opponents and continue down the field when everyone was sure he would be tackled. Michael has been praised countless times by teammates and coaches for his outstanding athletic ability, team attitude, integrity, and drive to win. Renowned as one of the CFL’s most hard working and electrifying players, Michael is one of the most respected athletes in Canadian sports.
As a Toronto Argonauts player, Michael won three Grey Cup Championships (1991, 1996 & 1997) and remains the pro-football record holder for most career all-purpose yards with 25,483. Michael retired with 12 all-time team records to his credit, including: career pass receptions (682); career punt returns (610), punt return yards (6,025) and punt return touchdowns (8); career kickoff returns (300) and kickoff return yards (6,349); single season punt returns (111) and return yards (1,070); and single season kickoff returns (49) and single game kickoff returns (8). Michael was the Canadian Football League’s Most Outstanding Player in 1990, named Canadian Football League All-Star twice (1990, 1997), East Division All-Star on four occasions (1990, 1993, 1994, 1997), and earned two Tom Pate Awards (1993, 1996) in recognition of his community work while playing.
On September 15, 2000, Michael hung up his Argo’s jersey after 12 seasons to take over as Head Coach. In 2004, he led the team to its first Grey Cup Victory since 1997, his first as Head Coach. In 2007, the Argos finished in first place for the second time under his guidance. He is the second-winningest coach in Argo history with 68 wins. Michael earned recognition five times as a finalist for Coach of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 & 2006. Michael currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Toronto Argonauts.
Michael redefines what it means to support a community and has been recognized for his tireless work with charities, schools and community groups. During his playing days, Michael was consistently one of the most giving athletes in Toronto, spending his time with sick children in hospitals, collecting food and toys for charities, and regularly visiting schools to inspire youth to stay in school and reach for their dreams. Although Michael was born in the US, in 2015, he officially became a Canadian citizen and has dedicated his life to making his adopted city of Toronto better every day. Michael invests a great deal of his time with the Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons Foundation, which helps change the lives of thousands of Toronto youth, while also raising funds to build more than 200 schools in Africa.