Jim Stillwagon - Defensive Tackle - 1971-75 - Ohio State
Rob Malich - Toronto Argonauts website - 1996
It used to take many men to move a wagon, and even more to move the Argo "Wagon". His name was Jim Stillwagon, and he played defensive line with a ferocity that few had seen before or since, and his intensity and skill earned him all-Canadian honours in three of the five years he played as an Argo (1971,'72 and '74).
The accolades should not have come as a surprise, since Stillwagon had already reaped some of the most distinguished individual awards in U.S. college football during his stay at Ohio State. In his senior year of 1970, he won both the Knute Rockne Trophy for top linemen and Outland Trophy for top interior lineman, and in his sophomore year was on a Rose Bowl winning team as Ohio State defeated USC 27-16.
Drafted in the fifth round of the 1971 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers, Stillwagon decided to come north to the Argos, since the Packers felt his relatively small size (6-foot, 240 pounds) would suit him better at linebacker than on the defensive line.
"I looked at the pluses and minuses on paper and decided to come to Toronto," said Stillwagon, a noted personality who joined a squad already full of them. "We had a great team, a lot of characters. We were like a masked marvel team, people loved to boo us."
Opposition fans loved to boo them, but the Double Blue faithful loved them, particularly that 1971 team that made it to the Grey Cup final but lost to Calgary. "We had one great season, then we went rocking and rolling the other way," said Stillwagon, whose own career also came to a premature end due to serious knee injuries.
After his football career ended, Stillwagon stayed in Toronto for a year and worked on a project for the premier of Ontario and devoted Argo fan, Bill Davis. He returned to his native Ohio after that, and became involved in several business ventures, including high security locks and utilities. In fact, the utilites company he works for now has been in constant contact with Ontario Hydro, and he was in town a few weeks ago for a big product test, as well as being a special guest at the Argo alumni golf tournament, where the memories were quickly coming back.
"I had a lot of great experiences and met a lot of nice people in Canada," said Stillwagon, who lives with his wife Effie and daughters Nicole, Angela and Electra in Columbus, Ohio.