Matt Dunigan - Quarterback - 1988-89 - Louisiana State
After his time in professional baseball with the Montreal Expos, Matt Dunigan was traded from the Edmonton Eskimos to the British Columbia Lions prior to the 1988 season for receiver Jim Sandusky and future considerations (that turned into 5 additional players headed to Edmonton).
The Lions had talented players and took off with Dunigan, the most notable being receiver David Williams, who had 1,468 receiving yards and 18 touchdown receptions to be named the League's Most Outstanding Player. Dunigan had great chemistry with Williams and had the finest passing totals of his career 3,776 and 26 touchdowns.
The Lions were an offensive power and advanced to the Grey Cup in Ottawa versus Winnipeg. Only a late tipped pass that was intercepted snuffed out the winning drive as Winnipeg won 22-21. The Lions and Dunigan would have to watch the Blue Bombers celebrate having come so close.
What should have been a follow-up season to remember quickly devolved as the community run team looked for a private owner. Murray Pezim and stock exchange magnate and self made showman bought the Lions and with it great instability. The team still delivered incredible offensive totals but the defence was porous and the club slipped to 7-11 and last in the West. The instability affected coaching as Larry Donovan was replaced by GM Joe Galat who failed to turn things around. Dunigan contributed 27 touchdown passes and 10 rushing TD's to boot but the team still struggled.
In the offseason before the 1990 season Pezim overhauled the entire operation bringing in Joe Kapp as General Manager and luring former New York Jet Mark Gastineau into the fray. Dunigan could see the writing on the wall and sure enough he was traded to Toronto. Kapp had his own ideas for quarterback, 2 former college standouts; 1 Major Harris would show up overweight and not last while the other Doug Flutie would dominate the league like no one before him.
Flutie and Dunigan would have many memorable head to head duels and it was Dunigan's departure in B.C. that led to Flutie's arrival.
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