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Hall of Famers

Hall of Famer


Inducted in 1975

Member Details

Date of Birth: September 19, 1878
Place of Birth: Hamilton, Ontario
Date of Passing: December 9, 1960
Sport: Football
Member Category: Builder

Career Highlights


Coach, University of Toronto


Grey Cup - University of Toronto Varsity Team


Grey Cup - University of Toronto Blues


Coach, Ridley College Football, Rugby, Cricket


Inducted into Canadian Football Hall of Fame



Dr. Harry Griffith, fondly known as "The Chief," touched the lives of hundreds of young football players over the course of his coaching career. As an educator and coach at Ridley College in St. Catharines and Trinity College in Toronto, Dr. Griffith instilled in his students a passion for sport and brought his teams to glory. From his customary position on the sidelines, the Chief sent his young players into action with four simple yet effective words: "Play hard! Play clean!" Dr. Griffith spent his life moving between Ridley College and Trinity College, first as student and player, and later as teacher and coach. He was a fine quarterback, but it was not until he returned as coach to each alma mater that he realized his true gift. After receiving his degree from Trinity College, Dr. Griffith made his debut as teacher and coach in St. Catharines. Over the next eight years, he sharpened his skills and developed his own unique coaching style. In 1907, he returned to Trinity College as French professor and coach, and in 1909, his University of Toronto varsity team claimed the inaugural Grey Cup. The Chief claimed the Cup once again in 1910, this time with the University of Toronto Blues. The following year, he returned to Ridley, where he championed his team to 22 Little Big Four Titles. When not in the classroom or on the football field, Dr.Griffith could also be found directing the school's rugby and cricket teams. Dr. Griffith was widely known for his innovative and effective coaching techniques. His teams never huddled but called their signals at the line, sometimes several plays in advance. He always stressed the importance of proper training in order to improve play and prevent injuries. When asked what his secret to success was, the Chief once told sportswriter Bobbie Rosenfeld, "Everybody wanted to know what football magic I used. It wasn't magic, simply spirit and conditioning." Always concerned with the latest developments in the game, Dr. Griffith also served as president and as a member of the rules committee of the Canadian Rugby Union. An outstanding educator, Griffith was appointed headmaster of Ridley College in 1932. In 1933, he was awarded an honourary doctor of laws degree from the University of Toronto for his exceptional contributions to education and sportsmanship. For his superb athletic achievements, he was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1963.