‘A tweet couldn’t reflect the greatness of my friend Chris Schultz’: Paul LaPolice

Photo courtesy: Paul LaPolice

When you lose a valued friend and colleague, 280 characters simply isn’t enough.

The CFL world was left reeling Friday by the tragic news of the passing of beloved CFL on TSN panelist and all-time Toronto Argonaut Chris Schultz. Tributes flooded in from across the Canadian sports media landscape, but Paul LaPolice felt the need to go a little further.

The Ottawa Redblacks head coach who spent three years as part of the TSN broadcast team posted a short essay honouring his friend, sharing some behind the scenes stories about the CFL icon.

“On a very somber day, I felt a tweet couldn’t reflect the greatness of my friend Chris Schultz. His passing two days ago has struck a cord with sports fans across the country as he was one of TSN’s most popular personalities of all time.

In 2000, after the Argos season I was the only remaining staff member from the previous season so I was alone in a new country. Argos colour guy at the time Mike Hogan said to come meet him after his Football Friday show one day. There I was introduced to Chris Schultz, he treated me like I was his best friend immediately and for a great player in the NFL and the CFL, he never came off as more important or better than anyone. He was a humble good guy, friendly to everyone. We have been friends ever since that day and he always was helpful to me and my family.

The greatness of the man was that he understood that he was well-known across the country and he always had time for anyone who came up to say hello to him. He’s like seven feet tall so he was noticed all the time and he was always accommodating to anyone who wanted to say hello or get a picture with him. It was absolutely amazing to see how excited or happy people were after saying hi to him or just seeing him walking around. You have to be special and genuine to have that effect on people that hardly know you and Chris was special. My brother-in-law Tyler and his friend were visiting me in Hamilton and I asked Chris to come out with is as it would make their night hanging with Chris. He barely fit in the front seat of my Honda Accord as we went out on the town, but he made Tyler and his friend feel like they were long lost friends of his from college. These are stories that they still talk about to this day. He went so far as to take time out of his schedule to film a funny five minute video from the SportsCentre desk to congratulate Tyler on getting married and showed it at his wedding.

He always was so positive and would always send congratulatory texts or phone calls checking in. I always appreciated how positive they were. When I started to work in television, he was so helpful in my development and helped me become more comfortable behind the camera. My first day, I was practicing my comments and he left his chair, came over to me and slammed his fist on the table, screaming at me “THIS IS HOW YOU HAVE TO TALK TO THE CAMERA, DO IT LIKE THIS” and then turned around and sat down again. He was great, and I mean great, at his job. Entertaining, funny, easy to work with and the thing I respected most is that he never tried to say he was smarter than this guy or that guy. He tried so hard not to ever be critical or take shots at players, coaches or organizations. We shot many Coach’s Playbooks together and they were always a blast to do and he brought a great perspective to the game as a former offensive lineman. He was an unbelievable ambassador for the Canadian Football League and was so proud to play and work in the league. He was as proud of his work in the CFL as he was the great work he did in the NFL.

I am sorry that more people won’t get to be excited that ‘I met Chris Schultz and talked to him, he was awesome’. I am sorry that the CFL loses a great one and I am sorry to lose my friend Schultzie.”