Willie Wood Passed Away on Feb. 3rd

Willie Wood was the first black Head Coach in CFL history, when he replaced Forrest Gregg as Argos coach in 1980. He didn’t last long, but this guy was a HUGE piece of CFL history, and I have not seen one reference or acknowledgment of his contribution to league, from either the CFL or the Argos…

Let’s pay attention, people…come on CFL media staff!


Completely agree! In a nine team league (minus the US expansion experiment) we become familiar with the people of the CFL. Willie Wood was a trail blazer and good coach.

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Willie Wood was somewhat a legend with the Packers.

His accomplishments in Canada were minimal at best.

Not somewhat. If one could be a superstar at DB he was it.

Yes, Willie deserves to be recognized for this Hall of Fame career in the NFL.

He really didn’t accomplish much here in Canada … was with the Argos for less than 3 seasons.

minorities’ contributions should not be overstated due to their status of a minority, but due to their actual contributions.

(otherwise, it lessens the contributions).

Brutal roster. Obie pretty much had to overhaul that team to make it competitive.

An update and an apology to the Argos and the league…both recognized and acknowledged Wood’s passing on Twitter…I guess I need to enter the 21st century before posting!

It was Ralph Sazio who overhauled the Argos and made them competitive again, including hiring Obie as HC.
Carling O’Keefe Breweries, who owned the Argos at the time, hired Sazio away from the Tiger-Cats in 1981 and named him President.
In one of the more impressive examples of executive sports management in any league, Sazio oversaw the turnaround of a team that had not won the championship in 31 years when, only two years after his arrival, the Argos won the Grey Cup in 1983.
I congratulated and thanked him for masterminding the turnaround of the Argos when I met him at a Hall of Fame induction dinner many years later.

Yes new ownership spends money with smart hires then a previously bad team does well.
Unprecedented in the history of pro sports.

It was Willie Wood, not Sazio or Obie, who brought the following players to the Argos: Condredge Holloway, Cedric Minter, Terry Greer, Dan Ferrone, Jan Carinci, Bob Bronk, Tom Trifaux, Gord Elser and John Malinosky. And thanks to deals Wood made before he was fired, the Argos were able to draft Tony Antunovic and Chris Schultz (who didn’t arrive until 1986). Obie and Sazio made some good moves (such as trading for Joe Barnes and overhauling the defence in 1982-83), but they also benefitted greatly from Wood’s smart recruitment.