Tony Champion - Wide Receiver - 1985-92 - Tennessee Martin
A multi-sport star, Champion lived up to his name as a football standout at the high school, college and pro level. A 1981 Humboldt grad, he was an all-district player on the Vikings' 1979 undefeated, 13-0 Class AA state champion football team. As a senior he quarterbacked Humboldt to a 10-1 season and was selected All-West Tenn., 2nd Team All-State and Humboldt Player of the Year. In basketball Champion earned All-District and All-Region as Humboldt finished state runner-up. In track he placed 4th in state in the 330 yd. low hurdles as a junior and qualified for the state as a senior, but elected to attend graduation instead of competing at the state meet.
Playing football at the Univ. of Tenn. Martin (1981-84), Champion was All-Gulf South Conference, had 84 career points and tied a school record with a 100-yard kickoff return. As a junior he surpassed 1,000 receiving yards and set school records for receptions in a season (39) and most yards single game (181 yards on 3 catches). He was a pre-season All-American before suffering knee injury as a senior.
Champion signed as free agent with Dallas, San Diego, and Green Bay in the NFL, but narrowly missed roster cuts.
He achieved all-star status in the Canadian Football League, playing for the Hamilton Tiger Cats eight seasons, 1985-1992. For his career he had 340 receptions for 5,498 yards and 37 TD's. In 1989 Champion was runner-up as the CFL Most Outstanding Player, Hamilton's Most Valuable Player, winner of the
Frank Gibson and Terry Evanshen trophies, and set a team season record for touchdowns with 15 on the year. Champion's circus touchdown catch in the 1989 Grey Cup championship game was called "the greatest catch in football." Champion had 2 touchdowns and 106 yards receiving playing with cracked ribs in what many consider the greatest CFL game ever played. Hamilton would go down in defeat to Saskatchewan on a last minute field goal but Champion's catch stands as a moment of pure CFL brilliance.
Champion is the son of the late Sadie Mai Champion of Humboldt. Tony and wife, Darla have two children, Kiara and Maiya and reside in Humboldt.