Chuck Ealey
Personal information
Date of birth: (1950-01-06) January 6, 1950 (age 69)
Place of birth: Portsmouth, Ohio
Career information
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
Roster status: Retired
Career highlights and awards
  • N/A

Charles "Chuck" Ealey (born January 6, 1950 in Portsmouth, Ohio) is a former American Canadian football player for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. Ealey played college football at the University of Toledo and high school football for Notre Dame High School in Portsmouth, Ohio.

High school and college yearsEdit

From 1964 to 1967, Ealey played for Notre Dame High School under Ohio High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Famer Ed Miller. In 1967, Notre Dame captured its first Ohio High School Athletic Association state championship.[1] Ealey was lightly recruited despite finishing his high school career with an undefeated record.[2] He was offered a football scholarship to Miami University with then-coach Bo Schembechler to be the team's third-string quarterback, but Ealey refused.[citation needed] He was then offered a scholarship to the University of Toledo with an opportunity to start as first-string quarterback,[citation needed] which he accepted and would lead Toledo to 35 consecutive wins in a three-year span from 1969–1971, a National Collegiate Athletic Association record that still stands.[3]

Ealey's greatest triumph with Toledo was helping the Toledo Rockets win the 1970 Tangerine Bowl. Ealey led the Rockets to three straight Top 20 finishes and three straight Tangerine Bowl victories during their run of unbeaten seasons, winning the MVP award in all three games.[4]

In 1971, Ealey's senior season, he was named First Team All-American by Football News, Second Team All-American by the United Press International, and Third Team All-American by the Associated Press. He also finished eighth in the voting for the 1971 Heisman Trophy,[5] which was awarded to Pat Sullivan of Auburn. Ealey finished his career as a three-time first team all-conference selection, and a three-time Back of the Year selection in the Mid-American Conference, leading the conference in passing yards in 1970 and 1971. His jersey is one of four retired jerseys in the history of Toledo football,[6] and was elected to the MAC Hall of Fame as a charter member in 1988.[7]

Despite all his amateur accomplishments, Ealey is not a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.[8] He was passed by in the 1972 NFL Draft, during a time in which most NFL franchises did not seriously consider African-American quarterbacks.

Canadian football careerEdit

In 1972, Ealey signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He did not start as quarterback until game four, but then proceeded to have an astonishing rookie season, leading Hamilton to an 11-3 record (good for first place in the East), winning the CFL's Most Outstanding Rookie Award and becoming an All-Star. Best of all, he helped secure a thrilling 13–10 last minute victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the 60th Grey Cup, when he also won the Grey Cup Most Valuable Player award after passing for 291 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 63 yards.

He later played with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1974 and 1975 and with the Toronto Argonauts, for 48 games, in 1975 to 1978. Ealey suffered a career-ending collapsed lung injury in 1978. In total, Ealey played for seven seasons with Hamilton, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and the Toronto Argonauts, passing for 13,326 yards and 82 touchdowns.[3]

After footballEdit

Ealey is now a Regional Director for Investors Group in Mississauga. He also can be heard on Wednesday afternoons on the radio, giving helpful investment tips and advice on CIWV-FM Wave 94.7. He currently lives in Brampton, Ontario, with his wife, three children and four grandchildren. Ealey's son, Damon, also played football for the University of Toledo in 1995. A documentary film on his life, Undefeated: The Chuck Ealey Story was aired on November 27, 2008, in Toledo and scheduled for DVD release in December.[9] Chuck Ealey is one of a number of black athletes featured in the book for young readers, Choice of Colours: The Pioneering African-American Quarterbacks Who Changed the Face of Football (2008). Chuck is featured in the 2012 documentary "The Stone Thrower" which tells the revealing and emotional story of how the gifted quarterback found refuge in Canada and the CFL in the face of racial intolerance in the United States. It is one of the Engraved on a Nation series of eight documentaries celebrating the 100th Grey Cup and airs on TSN in October 2012. He is also an honorary initiate of Kappa Delta Rho Fraternity.


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