Ron Lancaster – a Man Who’s Achievements Deserve Respect

Ron Lancaster, a man who some may consider the greatest quarterback in The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ one-hundred year history. He persevered through the criticism through his storied career, he was a great player he was a leader on and off the field, and was great in the community.
When he came to Saskatchewan in a trade from Ottawa the first thing he did was walk into Head Coach Bob Shaw’s office. Shaw told him he was too small and refused to start him, little did Shaw know, the man who would become known as “The Little General? would go on to have quite the career.
However, he didn’t become Saskatchewan’s prodigal son until he bought a house in Regina and lived in the community a man wasn’t loved (or sometimes hated) as much as Ronnie since Glenn Dobbes. Mr. Lancaster would go on to be the first player to quarterback the Roughriders to a Grey Cup win in 1966 over Ottawa. But, every great quarterback faces criticism. There were times were fans called for Lancaster to be benched, but he pulled through, and continued to lead the team.
Some of the dislike lasted up until Lancaster’s final game a Taylor Field, where fans booed him off the field after a loss. However, the following week many people learned that The Little General not only touched the hearts of Rider Nation, but other fans as well. Late in the fourth quarter in Edmonton, fans started screaming for Lancaster to come off the bench! Eventually, the fans got their wish as he came in and lead the Riders to a comeback victory! The place erupted in cheering. Many journalists covering the game called it the strangest thing they had ever seen.
Ronnie didn’t just thrill fans on the field, but off it as well. During autograph sessions he would never just send fans along as fast as he could, he’d stop and talk football with them first! After his playing career was behind him, he went onto become a Head Coach, first of the Saskatchewan Roughriders where he had little success. He would then coach the Hamilton Tigercats whom he would LEAD to a Grey Cup.
After a coaching career that included a Grey Cup title, Ronnie would move up to the broadcast booth providing colour commentary for The C.B.C and later on for the Hamilton Tigercats.
In the summer of 2008, news broke that Lancaster had been diagnosed with Lung Cancer. Despite this, he still continued to do his job as the broadcaster for the Hamilton Tigercats (home games) while undergoing treatment. Although he was no longer on the field still refused to leave his team behind. On September 18, 2008 after his death, the Riders had a tribute game dedicated to the memory of Lancaster. Across the radio waves people kept saying that he wouldn’t care about all the stuff they were doing for him and simply say,
“Come on guys, we’ve got a game to play.?
I know this person is not Canadian, but when I think of a person whose achievements deserve to be recognized, when I think of people, and history that has meant most to me I think of Ron Lancaster.

Just something I did for school, not my best, didn't use any resources.

Hope you enjoyed! or not w/e

Not a bad recap of my all time favorite athlete..

Good post!

Fun read, for sure. Just a detail though: it was coaching in Sask, then broadcasting, then coaching (Edm, then Ham) the winning CG with Ham.

I would love to read a post of someone who doesn't respect Lancaster. Those people are few and far between in Riderville.

Ronnie was a great quarterback, no doubt about it. He invented the entire concept of "closing minute" drives to come from behind to turn defeat into victory. For a short guy with a bit of weight problem (he was a chubby little guy), whose athletic ability and arm strength would probably not be good enough for even a modern American high school team, his handling of an offence and his reading defences was simply astonishing at times. Rider fans did him a great injustice for booing him off the football field the last game he ever played as a Rider. To his credit, he never publicly criticized the fans or acknowledged the hurt that must have caused him.

He had his dark side. He was a chronic chain smoker, lighting up on the sidelines when the offence was off the field. Lung cancer finally killed him. He was no lover of African Americans who anybody that anything to do with the Riders back then will most certainly attest to. Even back in those less race conscious days, his attitude still raised more than just a few eyebrows. Contemporaries of mine hated him as a schoolteacher.

We do not pay the respect due to George Reed. If George did not live in Regina after he retired, he may have been totally forgotten. It was always the combo of Ron Lancaster and George Reed than made the Riders who they were. Without George Reed always getting those four needed yards every time the Riders were second and short, when everyone in the stadium knew George would be getting the football, Ronnie's career would probably have been less legendary. George Reed was always my man, even more so than Ronnie Lancaster was. I once drove 3 hours through a blizzard just to watch him play, with my mother begging and pleading with me not to drive to Regina that day, but still I did.