Hamilton Tiger Cats

Grover Covington - Defensive End - Johnson C. Smith - 1981-91


-posted by Adam - Hamilton Tiger Cats - Chat - Official Tiger Cats Website - October 22, 2004

Grover Covington, a native of Monroe, North Carolina, attended Johnson C. Smith University, then, was a free agent signing by the Alouettes in May of 1981. In a pre-season trade, he went to Hamilton later that year.

“I knew about the tradition of defence and the term, steel-tough, so it was a lot different than Montreal,” he recalled. “I fell in love with the city. The people welcomed me with open arms, accepted me like one of their sons. I have so many friends in Hamilton and that will never change.”

In the mid 1980’s their names sounded like a law firm: Covington, Walker, Skillman, Price. The Hamilton front four was ferocious, and was one big reason why the Tiger-Cats went to the Grey Cup three consecutive years. After a loss to Winnipeg in 1984, and BC in 1985, Covington echoed what all of his teammates have said: the third time, they weren’t going to be denied.

“In 1984, it seemed we were happy just to get to the Grey Cup,” the gentle giant said. “In 1985, we were upset because we wanted the ring and you never knew when you’d be going back. In 1986, that team was so focused, it was like we were in another world, and that showed in the play of our defence, especially. We totally dominated Edmonton and I will never forget that game, or my teammates. I love them to death just because that was the first time I ever won a championship at any level.”

Covington still holds the CFL record for most career regular season sacks, 157. Those numbers were so impressive, that he was elected into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame on February 22, 2000. On October 15 of this year, his name was added to the Wall of Honour at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

“Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think this would happen” Covington admitted.

“When I first came to the CFL, I just wanted to make the team. From not playing football till Grade 11, to the Hall of Fame, and now, seeing my name on the Wall of Honour, I’m overwhelmed.”

Football is perhaps the ultimate team game, and that’s something the eleven-year Tiger-Cat wanted to emphasize.

“You don’t get to this point by yourself. It’s other people that helped you, from high school coaches to my position coach for most of my stay in Hamilton, Ted Schmitz. They all instilled the values of working hard.”

These days, Covington and his family live in Vancouver, where he keeps busy, working and coaching football. But, there’s one more part to his post-season career that he would like to pursue.

COVINGTON, GROVER, Elected as a Player, 2000. Began his CFL career in 1981 when he joined the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. For eleven years he played the defensive end position and was named CFL sack leader in 1988 with 25 sacks. Covington still holds the CFL's all-time quarterback sack record with 157 sacks. Covington was named CFL All-Star four times, Eastern All-Star seven times, Schenley Most Outsanding Defensive Player and was the James McCaffrey Trophy winner. Grover Covington played in four Grey Cup games, winning in 1986