Former Ticats’ linebacker, Most Outstanding Canadian winner Zeno Karcz passes away at 87

Photo courtesy: Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame

Former Hamilton Tiger-Cats linebacker Zeno Karcz passed away Wednesday at the age of 87.

Karcz first joined the Ticats in 1957 after an amateur career with the Windsor AKO Fratmen junior program and the University of Michigan. He would go on to play 10 seasons for the club, making a whopping eight Grey Cup appearances and winning three championships.

Considered one of the best linebackers in franchise history, Karcz was twice named an East Division all-star and took home league honours in 1965. That same season he won the CFL’s Most Oustanding Canadian award for his play — an accolade that would not go to a linebacker again until Mike O’Shea won in 1999.

Karcz played in an era before tackle statistics were kept but was credited with ten interceptions and five fumble recoveries in his career. He also caught four passes, two of which went for touchdowns.

Following his retirement, Karcz returned to the Fratmen as head coach, serving in that role from 1967 until 1969.