There is not a dry eye in the CFL today as fans, players and media from around the country mourn the loss of beloved CFL on TSN broadcaster and all-time Toronto Argonaut Chris Schultz.
The six-foot-eight former left tackle passed away suddenly from a heart attack on Thursday. He was just 61 years old.
The devastating news prompted a flood of tributes from around the country. Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said that Schultz left “a giant-sized hole in the CFL” and many others agreed.
Former teammates Pinball Clemons and Mike O’Shea shared their memories of the big man, while Argos play-by-play man Mike Hogan penned his own touching tribute to his broadcast partner. TSN colleague Dave Naylor took to Toronto radio to call out the Canadian Football Hall of Fame for failing to induct Schultz.
Other notable members of the Canadian sports community took to social media to express their own heartbreak. CFL on TSN host Rod Smith was the first to break the awful news.
I’m devastated to learn that our friend Chris Schultz died of a heart attack yesterday.
He was 61.
Schultzy was larger than life in so many ways…
CFL and NFL.
He played in both.
He covered both.
He loved both.
His life was a football life.
One I’ll never forget.
RIP Big Man pic.twitter.com/CJmggtdBCt
— Rod Smith (@RodSmithTSN) March 5, 2021
CFL.ca writer Don Landry expressed the shock we all felt.
No. This cannot be. God, no.
A wonderful person. A good, good friend.
Heartbroken to hear that Chris Schultz has passed away.
Far, far, far too soon.
Rest in peace, Schultzie. pic.twitter.com/SEqC7JWGMA
— Don Landry ???????????????? (@donlandrymedia) March 5, 2021
Colour analyst Glen Suitor was emotional about his TSN teammate.
Heartbroken and emotional, thinking about all the deep and personal conversations Shultzy and I had through the years. RIP ‘Big man,’ you were a great Teammate, and a great friend.
— Glen Suitor (@GlenSuitor) March 5, 2021
Sportsnet’s Donnovan Bennett spoke to Schultz’s impact on his generation of fans and players.
Chris Schultz was one of the first Canadian voices I learned football from. Not just as a broadcaster he’d go to camps and combines and work with kids to help them reach their dreams through the sport. We’ve lost another valued member of the football community too soon. RIP. pic.twitter.com/y2RH2bviLj
— Donnovan Bennett (@donnovanbennett) March 5, 2021
Sportscentre anchor Kate Beirness will miss the gentle giant.
A gentle giant ❤️
I adored working with Schultzy
His passion and energy was infectious… his work ethic was admirable… I will never forget all his hand written notes!
To say we will miss you big man is an understatement
RIP friend https://t.co/STWuk1ZYyK
— Kate Beirness (@KateBeirness) March 5, 2021
NHL insider Bob McKenzie recalled sharing the spot at the end of the panel desk with the mountainous man.
More sad news: Chris Schultz was a big bear of a man but so funny, warm and welcoming, a beloved member of @TSN_Sports family. It was always a blast to spend time with him when football and hockey panels would switch up at the Studio 6 desk. We sat in the same far-right end seat. https://t.co/rXd9ikSdAX
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 5, 2021
Farhan Lalji and TSN producer Chris Edwards were two who remembered Schultz’s distinct preparation style.
Ah the long hand notes. In big print, usually on cardboard, every word, down to the letter… and then he’d never have to look at them.
I can only imagine how much that chair got raised & lowered over the years! A legendary seat!
He’ll be missed by so many. #RIPBigMan
— Farhan Lalji (@FarhanLaljiTSN) March 5, 2021
Schultzie would write out in a large black sharpie exactly what he wanted to say on air.
After reading it over and over to himself as if he was memorizing a playbook he would say it word for word when the camera was rolling.
No one took his job – or the game – more seriously https://t.co/0UcDGTsx6e
— Chris Edwards (@CEdwardsTSN) March 5, 2021
Iconic CFL play-by-play man Chris Cuthbert was another who called for Hall of Fame induction.
Found this caricature of him in a Dallas steakhouse a few years ago, with the likes of Tony Dorsett and Too Tall Jones.
Considering his accomplishments on both sides of the border, it’s a shame that he wasn’t inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. pic.twitter.com/0nLgAtnTKn
— Chris Cuthbert (@CCpxpSN) March 5, 2021
Former CFL on TSN host James Duthie shared a classic bit of Schultz comedy.
Schultzy was hilarious. This is part of a silly bit we did with me trying out for the Argos in 1999. Schultzy was my coach. pic.twitter.com/NChA7M0xJW
— James Duthie (@tsnjamesduthie) March 5, 2021
Longtime CFL coach Bob Dyce praised Schultz’s smile and insights.
Deeply saddened by the passing of Chris Schultz. He was always a pleasure to be around with that huge smile of his. His preparation was top notch and he brought great insights to every game he covered. Watching him you could tell he loved and respected the CFL. RIH Chris.
— Bob Dyce (@BobbyLADyce) March 5, 2021
Sportsnet’s Tim Micallef recalled Schultz’s kindness for him early in his own career.
This one hurts. I was young kid doing radio playxplay for the @Ticats – he was a big shot on TV. Not only did he know my name, but he always had time for me and our broadcast. He understood the grind.
He was really kind to me.
Rest easy big fella ???? https://t.co/ai3VmDuAj2
— Tim Micallef (@tim_micallef) March 5, 2021
TSN reporter Sara Orlesky called him a big brother.
— Sara Orlesky (@saraorlesky) March 5, 2021
Former CFL on TSN host Dave Randorf called him the anchor of the panel.
I can’t begin to tell you how many laughs I shared with these guys covering the #CFL The Big Man at the end of the desk was our true anchor for 12 years. I will miss you buddy. RIP Schultzy. pic.twitter.com/ggCmQkfEDM
— Dave Randorf (@DaveRandorf) March 5, 2021
Derek Taylor shared some of the details of his TSN audition.
My audition at TSN involved a chat with Schultzy. He made it feel like we were old friends, though that was the first time we ever met.
For the year we did fantasy football together he was so prepared and didn't want to stop until we had it perfect.
And that handshake.
— DT on Sports Cage???? (@DTonSC) March 5, 2021
Matthew Scianitti remembered those handshakes as well.
A man of so much passion and energy. Whenever you were on the football field, and saw Schultzy, you gravitated to him because the field was his space. He always had a huge smile to greet you, and always had that HUGE hand ready to swallow yours. He made me proud to cover the #CFL https://t.co/AySAejY2ix
— Matthew Scianitti (@TSNScianitti) March 5, 2021
Fellow panelist Milt Stegall shared his love.
— Milt Stegall (@MiltStegallTSN) March 5, 2021
CFLPA Executive Director Brian Ramsay praised Schultz as a role model.
This is a difficult day for football in Canada & everyone who knew Chris Schultz. He was a big, tough & kind man who advocated for the players, & recognized his position as a Canadian role model & ambassador who played at the highest level here & down south. He will be missed.
— Brian Ramsay (@RamsayCFLPA) March 5, 2021
Sportscentre anchor Kayla Grey remembered his kindness to her as an intern.
???? I met Chris Schultz back when I was a game-day intern for the Argos. Treated me with the same dignity and respect backthen as he did when I got to TSN. Incredibly kind and funny. Thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time https://t.co/pvjOVH1FNx
— Kayla Grey (@Kayla_Grey) March 5, 2021
And the Mayor of Burlington put the flags at City Hall at half mast.
Flags at City Hall are at half mast today to honour Chris Schultz, local NFL and CFL offensive lineman and TSN broadcaster who sadly passed away yesterday. Our sincere condolences to his family and friends. ???????? pic.twitter.com/K0GJBRKpAf
— Marianne Meed Ward (@MariannMeedWard) March 5, 2021