Toronto Argonauts

 Jim Corrigall - Defensive End - 1970-81 - Kent State

Rob Malich - Toronto Argonauts website - 1996

 

The Argos' motto for 1996 is "Life is good...Football is better". For Jim Corrigall, it would be "Life is...Football".

 

Ever since he started playing the game in grade 10 at Scollard High School in North Bay, Ontario, Corrigall's daily existence has revolved around football. Currently, it is as the head coach at Kent State University in Ohio, his alma mater.

 

"I always wanted to be a college head coach," said Corrigall, who attended Kent State from 1966-69 and had his sweater #79 retired at the school. "Now that I've accomplished that, my next goal is to coach in the National Football League, and by God that's what I'm going to do."

Between his stints at Kent State as a player and coach, Corrigall had a Hall-of-Fame career as a defensive lineman with the Argonauts, anchoring the unit for 12 distinguished seasons.

 

"I had a great career, but I would have liked to have played a bit longer," said Corrigall, a four-time league all-star who was inducted into the CFL's hallowed shrine in Hamilton in 1990. "I have a fond memory of my (Argo) teammates and some of the coaches and owners I was associated with, but most of all it's of the Toronto fans and media, who treated me great."

 

Drafted in 1970 by the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals in the second round, the highest-ever position for a Canadian, Corrigall came back to Canada instead when he received a superior offer from Argo owner John Bassett.

 

"I had a tremendous amount of respect for him and enjoyed his company," said Corrigal. "(Bassett) was a very successful man. He was a guy on the move, and he had a lot of vision."

 

However, Bassett's interest in the Argos was waning just as Corrigall's star was shining. Bill Hodgson took over the team in 1974, and the year after Corrigall won the Schenley as the CFL's top defensive player, the only Argo ever to win the award. Hodgson owned the team until he was bought out by Carling O'Keefe Breweries in 1981, Corrigall's last year in an Argo uniform.

 

After hanging up his cleats, "Cartwheel" Corrigall went on to become an assistant coach at the University of Miami (Ohio), North Carolina State and the University of Akron in the 1980's. As the decade changed, Corrigal came back to Kent State, where he was assistant athletic director for three years before becoming head coach two seasons ago.

 

"For me, it's shangri-la; it's a wonderful place to live," said Corrigall, who resides with his wife of 27 years, Mary Beth, in Rootstown, Ohio. The couple have two children, James and Amy.

 

However, the mood around campus is much different from his playing days, a time when it was a focal point in the protest movement against the Vietnam War. In fact, four students died in a highly-publicized demonstration at the school in 1970, an incident immortalized in a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song.

 

"It was very political, the people became disenchanted and the troops lost support," said Corrigall, a political science student who supported the war effort at the time. "I believe that if you fight a war, you go in full steam and don't let the politicians dictate it."