often referred to as "the architect of
Canadian football", was involved in the CFL for nearly
50 years as a head coach, general manager, owner and league
official. Between 1933 and 1951, the teams he coached competed
in five Grey Cups (Canadian Football League Championships),
and won them all!
Upon graduation from Syracuse University (New York), where
he was a basketball All-American (1931) and varsity football
star, Lewis Edward Hayman signed to
coach the University of Toronto basketball program. In his spare time he moonlighted
as an assistant to Buck McKenna, head coach of the Argonauts, Toronto’s
professional CFL football team. McKenna took ill part way into the 1932 season
and Hayman was appointed the team’s interim head coach. The following
year management dropped “interim”from his title and, in his first
full season, the 25-year old ex-UT basketball coach lead the Argos to a Grey
cup victory. Hayman would coach Toronto to two more Grey Cup championships,
back-to-back titles in 1937 and 1938.
At the outbreak of World War II, Hayman joined the Royal Canadian Air Force.
In 1942, Wing Commander Hayman was assigned to coach RCAF football, a job he
stayed with through the end of the war. His RCAF Toronto Hurricanes defeated
the Winnipeg RCAF Bombers to capture the 1942 Grey Cup.
In 1946, Hayman took over the floundering Montreal CFL franchise and gave it
a new nickname: the Allouettes. As coach, general manager and part owner, Hayman’s
franchise immediately broke Canadian football’s color barrier by signing
the CFL’s first black players. The bold move introduced integration to
professional Canadian sports, and winning pro football to French Canadian fans.
In 1949, the Allouettes won their first Grey Cup, marking Coach Hayman’s
record fifth national championship.
Other CFL “firsts” attributed to Hayman include: he was the first
to play night games (1946), first to play on Sundays (1946), and the first
to televise his team’s games.
Following the 1951 season, Hayman left the sidelines to serve full-time as
Montreal’s general manager. In 1955, he sold his interest in the Allouettes.
Less than two years later, he resurfaced in Toronto as Argonauts GM and President,
a position he held until 1969, when he served a year as CFL president.
Hayman was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1975. The CFL's
Eastern Division award for "Outstanding Player of the Year" is called
the Lew Hayman Trophy.