60 seasons of Eskimo Greats

1950’s –

DON GETTY

An intelligent, versatile player, Don Getty played ten seasons as quarterback for the Eskimos (1955-65) and had his name added to the Wall of Honour at Commonwealth Stadium in 1992. Born August 30, 1933 in Westmount , Quebec , Getty was an outstanding student/athlete at the University of Western Ontario where he quarterbacked the Mustangs to the Eastern Collegiate Union Championship in 1954 and '55. He was also the starting guard on Western's championship winning basketball team in 1952, '53, '54 and in 1955 was named Western's Most Outstanding Athlete. Getty joined the Eskimos in 1955 and would help lead them to Grey Cup wins in 1955 and '56. In 1959, Getty was named Outstanding Canadian in the Western Canada Football League and was runner up for the Schenley Award as the CFL's Outstanding Player. Following his playing career, Getty entered politics in 1967 as a member of Alberta 's Legislative Assembly. He left politics in 1979 and returned to the private sector. In 1985, he was elected leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservatives and that same year would lead the party to election. Don Getty served as Alberta 's 11th premier from 1985-1992.


NORMIE KWONG


‘The China Clipper’ played 13 seasons with Calgary and Edmonton. Twice voted the CFL’s Outstanding Canadian in 1955 and ‘56, Normie finished his glorious career with 9,022 rushing yards, 78 TDs, Teamed with Johnny Bright, Kwong gave the Eskimos a dynamic backfield which resulted in three consecutive Grey Cup wins (1954-55-56). Normie’s name was added to the Eskimo Wall of Honour at Commonwealth Stadium in 1983.

JACKIE PARKER

“The Fast Freight from Mississippi State” or “Ole Spaghetti Legs” starred as quarterback, halfback and defensive back for the Edmonton Eskimos from 1954 to 1962, the Argos from 1963 to 1965 and B.C. Lions from 1966 to 1968. He played on three Grey Cup winners with Edmonton, won the Schenley as the CFL's top player three times, was an All-Star for eight straight years and he scored 750 points, including 88 touchdowns rushing and 75 TDs passing. Jackie’s dramatic 84- yard TD run in the 1954 Grey Cup game remains one of pro sports most memorable plays. Jack is a member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, The Canadian Football Hall of Fame and joined the Eskimo Wall of Honour in 1983.


ROLLIE MILES

During his 11 outstanding seasons with the Green and Gold (1950-1961), Rollie Miles was voted a Western All-Star nine straight seasons as a running back, defensive back and even a quarterback. In 1954, he was a first team All-Star halfback on both offense and defense. Rollie played in five Grey Cups and was on the winning side three times. He was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1980 and inducted to the Eskimo Wall of Honour in 1983.

 
JOHNNY BRIGHT


This powerful fullback gained 10,909 yards in 13 CFL seasons with Calgary and Edmonton. He was top rusher in the West four times; a Western All-Star seven times and the Most Outstanding Player in the CFL in 1959. He rushed for 1,200 or more yards in five straight seasons and ran for 71 TDs. Bright helped lead the Eskimos to three straight Grey Cup victories in 1954, ‘55 and ‘56.


1960’s –

JOHN LaGRONE


If one player can be credited with turning around the fortunes of a franchise, John LaGrone is that player. Arriving in 1967, John was a quiet leader who let his on-field play do the talking. During his eight seasons (1967-1974) with the Esks, John won the Schenley Award in 1969 as Top Lineman and was a five-time CFL All-Star and six-time West Division All-Star. He played in two Grey Cups (1973 -‘74) and retired prior to the 1975 season.


TOMMY JOE COFFEY

Seven times an All-Canadian All-Star, four times an Eastern All-Star and three times a Western All-Star, Tommy Joe played both receiver and kicker and finished with 10,320 yards on pass receptions and 971 points. After two seasons (1959-‘60) with Edmonton , Tommy Joe left football in 1961 but returned to star for the Eskimos from 1962 to 1966, Hamilton (1967-72) and Toronto (1973) before retiring in 1973. Elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1977, Tommy Joe joined the Eskimo Wall of Honour in 1988.

 

1970’s –

WARREN MOON

Schenley Award winner Warren Moon spent his entire CFL career with the Edmonton Eskimos, from 1978 to 1983. In 1980, he became the team's starting quarterback and led the team to its third straight Grey Cup victory. Moon would help lead the Eskimos back to the Cup game three more times, with the Esks winning twice. In 1983, his final season in the CFL, Warren won the Schenley as Most Outstanding Player and was named both a CFL All-Star and Western All-Star. For Warren’s last year in Canada, he was the top quarterback with 380 completions of 664 attempts for 5,648 yards and 31 touchdowns. The Los Angeles, CA native (born: November 18, 1956) starred at the University of Washington and was the 1978 Rose Bowl MVP. Warren would go on to great success in the NFL with Houston, Minnesota, Seattle and Kansas City and he retired in 2000 as the most prolific passer in pro football history. Warren was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and the Eskimo Wall of Honour in 2001.

BRIAN KELLY


Affectionately known as "Howdy Doody", the 5'9" Kelly was an exceptionally intelligent receiver during his nine-year career (1979-‘87). Brian caught 575 passes for a then CFL record 11,169 yards and scored 586 points. His 97 career touchdowns are currently fourth on the CFL’s all-time list. He had his name added to the Eskimo Wall of Fame in 1989 and was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1991.


DAVE CUTLER

Dave was an Eskimo for his entire 16 year career (1969-‘84). The native of Biggar, Saskatchewan hit 464 field goals, 627 converts and 218 singles for 2,237 points - the Eskimo team record for career points. His 59 yard field goal stands third on the CFL’s all-time list. Dave played on six Eskimo Grey Cup winning teams (1975, 1978-‘82) and was a Western All-Star in 1977, 1978 and 1980 and an All-Canadian in 1977 and 1978. Dave joined the Eskimo Wall of Honour in 1986 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

TOM WILKINSON

A three-time CFL All-Star through 15 seasons, ‘Wilkie’ never missed a game in his 10 years (1972-1981) with Edmonton which included five wins in eight Grey Cup games. In 1974, Tom was named the CFL’s Outstanding Player. Tom was the first inductee to the Eskimo Wall of Honour at Commonwealth Stadium. He was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1987. Following his playing career Wilkinson coached the University of Alberta Golden Bears football program and he remains one of Edmonton’s most popular sports heroes.


DANNY KEPLEY

Danny and teammate Dave Fennell were Edmonton ’s marquee defensive players during the team’s golden era. From his middle linebacker position, Danny helped lead the Esks to five straight Grey Cup titles from 1978 to 1982. He was named to both the Western and CFL All-Star teams for five consecutive years (1977-81) and was a three time winner of the Schenley Award as the CFL’s top defensive player in 1977, 1980 and 1981. Danny was inducted to the Eskimo Wall of Honour in 1987 and joined the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

 

DAVE FENNELL


“Doctor Death" was a stalwart on the Edmonton Eskimo Defensive Line from 1974 to 1983 and a major part of the Esks’ “Five in a Row” Grey Cup winning teams. He was the Defensive Star of the 1978 Grey Cup, and the Defensive and Canadian Star of the 1982 Grey Cup. Dave was a CFL and Western All-Star at defensive tackle from 1977 to 1981 and the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 1978. He won the Most Outstanding Canadian Award in 1979 and was Runner-up in 1980. Dave Fennell’s name was added to the Eskimo Wall of Honour in 1984.


LARRY HIGHBAUGH

Flashy and outspoken, Larry Highbaugh had the numbers to back up the talk during his 13-year CFL career. A BC Lion from 1971-‘72, Larry came to Edmonton in ‘72 and would stay until his retirement in 1983. A six-time Western All-Star and a four-time CFL All-Star, Larry played in nine Grey Cups, winning six. His 2,190 yards on punt returns includes the Eskimo all-time longest return of 116 yards against Winnipeg in 1995. Larry’s 4,189 yards on kick-off returns includes the club’s all-time longest return of 118 yards and the second longest of 109 and he’s the only Eskimo with more than one kick-off return for a touchdown (3). He also caught 80 passes for 1,364 yards and 14 TDs. Larry name was added to the Eskimo Wall of Honour in 1996.


1980’s –


DANNY BASS

A product of Michigan State , Danny Bass entered the CFL in 1980 with Toronto . The following season he was traded to Calgary where he played for two seasons, but it was as an Eskimo from 1984 – ’91 that he enjoyed his greatest success. A six-time CFL All-Star and a Western All-Star eight times, Danny won the Schenley Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 1989. Bass played in three Grey Cups (1986, ’87, ‘90) and was on Edmonton ’s 1987 championship team. Danny’s name was enshrined on the Eskimo Wall of Honour in 1992 and he entered the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2000.


ROD CONNOP

Arguably one of the CFL’s most durable and hard-nosed players, Connop enjoyed a 16-year career, played in six Grey Cups and winning three times (‘82, ‘87, ‘93). He was an eight-time Western All-Star (once as a North Division selection) and a six-time CFL All-Star. Connop put together a string of 210 consecutive games beginning in 1983 and ending with his retirement after the 1997 season. Rod remains the all-time Eskimo leader in games played with 274.


1990’s –

HENRY “GIZMO” WILLIAMS

 

The greatest kick returner in pro football - Henry “Gizmo” Williams played his final game October 28, 2000. Born May 5, 1963 in Memphis, Tennessee, Gizmo thrilled Eskimo fans for 14 seasons and leaves behind a legacy of records that will likely never be broken. Gizmo worked tirelessly in the community throughout his career and in 1999 was honoured with the Eskimo Community Services Award.


WILLIE PLESS


One of Edmonton’s most outstanding defensive players, Pless was a punishing force at linebacker for eight seasons and 142 games as an Eskimo. Beginning his career with Toronto in 1986, Pless was an 11-time CFL All-Star and earned an unprecedented five CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player awards. Pless became the 23rd player added to the Wall of Honour after playing his last regular season game as an Eskimo in 1998. He remains the CFL leader in tackles with 1241 and playoff tackles with 88.