MICHAEL ‘PINBALL’ CLEMONS
To Canadians, the name “Pinball” stands for remarkable athletic talent, outstanding sportsmanship and a commitment to the community.
Born and raised in Florida, the William and Mary economics graduate began his career in the CFL in 1989 after a brief stint in the National Football League with Kansas City and Tampa Bay. As a player, Clemons compiled a brilliant CFL career with the Toronto Argonauts; a three-time Grey Cup Champion with 12 all-time team records to his credit, he also made pro-football record for most career combined yards of 25,396. On September 15, 2000, Pinball hung up his Argo’s jersey after 12 seasons to take the reigns as Head Coach where he then won another Grey Cup in 2004, making him the first Black head coach to reach & win a Grey Cup championship. He subsequently won two more Grey Cups in 2012 and 2017 as Vice-Chairman.
After retiring from the football field, Michael founded The Pinball Clemons Foundation, providing marginalized youth with educational resources and options to integrate into the mainstream of society. In 2021, Michael along with his wife, Diane Lee, was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross in recognition of the outstanding accomplishments and remarkable contributions they made through the Foundation.
Mike Clemons’ football career was characterized by incredible perseverance and great skill. At only 5 feet 6 inches and 170 pounds, he won against all odds. He succeeded while others predicted failure and gave more when less would have been satisfactory. “All Heart” is the story of a young man guided by fierce determination.
Michael is an athlete with true character, an incredibly generous spirit and a quiet dignity that shines on and off the field. He tells how his upbringing has shaped him, how his steadfast faith has always guided him and how his commitment to his team and his community is much more than just a professional veneer – but a deeply held feeling of true spirit and belonging.