Lancaster, Ron (1938–2008)

Ron Lancaster, No. 23.
Regina Leader-Post

Recognized as the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ most outstanding quarterback, Ron Lancaster continued to make important contributions to the Canadian Football League long after his paying career. Born in Fairchance, Pennsylvania on October 14, 1938, Lancaster played college football at Wittenburg University in Ohio and was signed by the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1960. He alternated at quarterback with Russ Jackson before being traded to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1963. Ron Lancaster spent the next sixteen years playing for the western Riders. Known as the “Little General” because of his determined, analytic play, he guided the franchise to five first-place finishes in the Western Conference, five Grey Cup appearances, and the team’s first-ever Grey Cup championship in 1966. A two-time Schenley Award winner for most outstanding player, Lancaster established thirty CFL records during his nineteen-year playing career. Lancaster then coached the Roughriders for the 1978–79 seasons, but failed to generate the same success as he did at quarterback. During the 1980s he worked as a colour commentator on CFL broadcasts. In 1991, he returned to the field as head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos, leading the team to a Grey Cup victory in 1993. Four years later, he assumed command of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, with whom he won the 1999 Grey Cup; he was then the team’s General Manager of Football Operations. Lancaster is honuoured as a member of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame (1981), the Canadian Football Hall of Fame (1982), and the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame (1985). Ron Lancaster passed away in September 2008 after a short battle with lung cancer. He was 69.

Holden Stoffel, David McLennan