Hall of Fame player, longtime CFL coach Don Sutherin passes away at age 85

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Canadian Football Hall of Fame player and longtime coach Don Sutherin passed away in Canton, Ohio on Tuesday at the age of 85. The news was first reported by The Columbus Dispatch.

The five-foot-ten, 193-pounder was an eighth-round pick of the New York Giants in the 1958 NFL Draft but started his professional career with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1958). He returned to the United States for two seasons with the Giants (1959) and Pittsburgh Steelers (1959-60) before returning to the Ticats where he remained through 1966.

Sutherin finished his playing career with the Ottawa Rough Riders (1967-69) and Toronto Argonauts (1970) before retiring. He was a six-time East Division all-star, three-time CFL all-star, and four-time Grey Cup champion, winning it all in 1963, 1965, 1968, and 1969.

The defensive back and kicker played all over the field, registering six career pass attempts, 29 career rushes, five career receptions, 58 career interceptions, 170 career returns, 114 career field goals, and 30 career punts. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1992.

The native of Empire, Ohio started his coaching career with Ottawa in 1981 as defensive line coach and was promoted to defensive coordinator the following year. He eventually became the head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, posting a 20-34 record from 1994-97 when he was fired.

“Sudsy was a great person and coach who was a lot of fun to work with,” said Stampeders president and general manager John Hufnagel, who was also part of the Stamps coaching staff in 1992. “He contributed so much to the CFL over the years and he will be sadly missed. On behalf of the entire Stampeders organization, I offer my heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”

Sutherin won three additional Grey Cups as a coach in 1987, 1992, and 1999 for a total of seven over the course of his career. He remains a legend in his home state after making a 34-yard field goal for Ohio State in the fourth quarter of the 1958 Rose Bowl to help defeat Oregon by a score of 10-7.