Toronto Argonauts

 Dave Mann - Receiver/Kicker/Punter - 1958, 60-70 - Oregon State


Rob Malich - Toronto Argonauts website - 1996

When it comes to remembering all-around football players, Dave Mann would be at the top of most people's lists.

While it was not uncommon for import players to play both offence and defence in previous eras, Mann did them one better. Not only was he an accomplished wide receiver and defensive back, but he was also one of the best punters and placekickers in the league.

"They used to call me Superman," said Mann, with a laugh and a touch of bravado thrown in. Indeed, Mann's versatility, talent and longevity made him one of the Argos' all-time greats, with his name scattered throughout the team's record books. Before the likes of Terry Greer and Hank Ilesic came to the Argos, Mann was the standard by which wide receivers and punters aspired to.

In 1960, combined with the great quarterback Tobin Rote, Mann caught 61 passes for 1,382 yards, a record that stood for 22 years before Greer topped it with 1,466 yards in 1982. Mann's 22.7 yard average per catch that season is a record that still stands today, and his 103-yard reception vs. Ottawa that year is the third longest in Argo history. To show he could succeed on the ground as well, Mann had an 86-yard rushing play against Hamilton in 1958, the second-longest Argo run from scrimmage.

With the toe, Mann's exploits were just as impressive. In 1961, he set a team and CFL record with a 48.0 yard punting average, and in 1966 had the longest punt in history, a 102 yarder in Regina. Both records have since been broken, with Ilesic having a 48.5 yard average in 1986 and Zenon Andrusyshyn booting a 108-yard bomb in 1977. Overall, Mann's 55,745 yards and 44.2 yard career average rank him third behind Ilesic and Andrusyshyn, and his 435 points put him fourth in all-time Argonaut scoring.

Of course, in a league that emphasizes passing and the kicking game, Mann's abilities made him a natural.

Dave Mann     Oregon St.
Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
1958 Tor 33 319 9.7 31 1
1959 Played in NFL      
1960 Tor 61 1,380 22.6 103 13
1961 Tor 53 659 12.4 45 5
1962 Tor 39 410 10.5 40 2
1963 Tor 11 190 17.3 33 2
1964 Tor 2 10 5.0 12 0
1965 Tor 5 57 11.4 17 1
Total 12 204 3,025 14.8 103 24

"I liked those rules, that's why I came to the CFL," said Mann, who had a stint in the National Football League after graduating from Oregon State University. Mann particularily liked the fact you couldn't block on punts or kickoffs, a rule that has since been altered. What hasn't been altered, though, is Mann's passion for football, which he continues to possess well into his retirement. He is an occassional instructor at various football camps in the Toronto area, including a stint at Lex Byrd's annual camp for high school players at Etobicoke's Centennial Park last week.

Outside of football, Mann was involved in various business ventures, the most prolific of which was owning the Underground Railroad restaurant in the early 1970's.

"Back then, it was the place to be in Toronto," said Mann, who lives with his wife Susan and has three kids, David, Angela and Melissa. "I even had Bill Cosby endorse it for me."