Scott Flory humbled to join ‘elite company’ in Canadian Football Hall of Fame

He won a Vanier Cup at the University of Saskatchewan and three Grey Cups with the Montreal Alouettes. On Friday night, Scott Flory will join the greatest football team ever assembled in Canada.

Flory will be inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame with punter Hank Ilesic, late centre/linebacker Tom Hugo, defensive lineman Brent Johnson and defensive back Barron Miles. Former quarterback Frank Cosentino goes in as a builder while Paul Brule will be honoured for his outstanding amateur career.

“It’s elite company, that’s for sure, and that’s the part that hits you,” Flory said. “When you grow up an absolute fan of the game, you recognize, ‘Hey wait, I’m going into the Hall of Fame with former Alouettes players like Peter Dalla Riva (1993).’

“I also get to go in with a bunch of teammates like Anthony Calvillo (2017), Mike Pringle (2008), Pierre Vercheval (2007), Uzooma Okeke (2014). It’s pretty special.”

Flory, 41, of Regina, was a nine-time all-star over 15 seasons with Montreal (1999-2013). The six-foot-four, 300-pound guard was the CFL’s top lineman in 2008-09 and helped the Alouettes win three Grey Cups (2002, 09-10). The former CFL Players’ Association president is now the head coach at his alma mater.

Montreal selected Flory in the third round, No. 15 overall, in the 1998 draft. He attended training camp but returned to school and helped the Huskies win the Vanier Cup.

Flory and Miles were Montreal teammates (1999 to 2004) before Miles finished his career with the B.C. Lions (2005-2009). Miles, 46, is in his third season as the Edmonton Eskimos’ defensive backs coach.

Flory and Miles are also among a group of former Alouettes players now coaching. Others include Calvillo (Toronto Argonauts quarterback coach), Ben Cahoon (assistant coach at Brigham Young, his alma mater), Ed Philion (Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive line coach) and Bryan Chiu (Ottawa Redblacks offensive line coach).

“It’s tremendous to think you’re on the same field, same team, in the same meeting room, on the same practice field with these types of players,” Miles said. “There’s been many people from that team (Alouettes) inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“It’s a mindset and I guess I had the upper hand being with such great guys.”

Added Flory: “We were just a bunch of guys who loved football. We all got to spend time with two of the best in Don Matthews and Marc Trestman.

“When you love football and get to be around guys like that and see the positive effect they can have on a group of men, it drives me toward wanting to do it.”

Today, Flory finds himself repeating many of the same cliches and time-tested phrases his former coaches used on him when he played.

“That’s so true,” Flory said with a chuckle. “I’ll say something and think ‘Oh man, I remember when (former Als coach) Doug Berry used to say stuff like that,’ and Marc Trestman and Don, the same kind of thing.

“That just shows the impact coaches can have on players. I just want to be able to play it forward to these guys.”

Flory is also pleased his wife Natasha, sons Ty (14) and Eli (12) and daughter Evan (eight) will attend the induction ceremony in Hamilton.

“My kids all saw me play and got to be part of it, even my daughter who was six months old when I won my last Grey Cup,” he said. “We have pictures and (the Grey Cup) was actually at our house and the boys took it to their school.

“I don’t think the gravity of the situation has set in and I’m a little bit awestruck, very humbled and very honoured. Many good emotions and feelings and great memories.”

Flory is very content at Saskatchewan and has no immediate designs on a CFL coaching job.

“It (coaching) was a conscious decision between myself and my family,” he said. “I love what I’m doing, I love being at my alma mater and love coaching those young men.

“Coaching in pro ball can be a little transient. I’m not closing the door on anything, but my kids are still young and I want to spend as much time as I can with them before they leave and don’t want to have anything to do with me.”

Miles had 66 career interceptions, the second-most in CFL history. The six-time lall-star also holds the league mark for most blocked kicks (13) and played on two Grey Cup-winning teams.

“To think I’m considered one of the top players in the CFL, period, is a blessing in itself,” Miles said. “How many people get that opportunity?

“I had the pleasure of playing with Scott in Montreal and Brent in B.C. It was a great honour to watch them work and put in the time and effort they did.”

Johnson, 41, of Kingston, Ont., spent 11 seasons with B.C. (2001-11). The former Ohio state star was twice the CFL’s top Canadian (2005-06) and its outstanding defensive player (’06). A two-time Grey Cup champion, Johnson led the league in sacks twice (17 in ’05, 16 in ’06) and is B.C.’s all-time leader (89). His No. 97 jersey was retired in 2012.

Ilesic, a 59-year-old Edmonton native, joined the Eskimos in 1977 as a 17-year-old high school student. The eight-time CFL all-star played on seven Grey Cup-winning teams (Edmonton 78-82, 1983 and ’91 with Toronto) while appearing in 261 career regular-season games and nine Grey Cup contests.

Ilesic led the CFL in punting average six times and holds the Grey Cup records for most punts (64) and punting yards (2,735). He also spent time with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and B.C. Lions in addition to the NFL’s San Diego Chargers and L.A. Rams.

Hugo, a Honolulu native, played seven seasons with Montreal (1953-59). He earned an incredible 12 all-star nods while registering 25 interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. Hugo died in 2004 at age 74.

Hamilton native Cosentino, 80, was a 1960 first-round pick of the Ticats after playing quarterback at Western Ontario. He spent 10 seasons with Hamilton (1960-66), Edmonton (1967-68) and Toronto (1969), participating in five Grey Cups, winning two. He later coached his alma mater for five seasons, winning two Vanier Cups before leading York University to playoff appearances in 1984-85.

Cosentino has written 17 books on sports in Canada, including three on Canadian football.

Brule, a Montreal native, was a dominant running back/defensive back at St. Francis Xavier. He became Canadian university football’s first 1,000-yard rusher in 1966 and set a single-season record with 20 rushing TDs before establishing a new benchmark of 25.

He once scored eight TDs in a game and finished with 51 career touchdowns, which remains an all-time Canadian record.

– CP

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