Chuck Ealey joins College Football Hall of Fame

He was the first Black passer to win the Grey Cup

Chuck Ealey

Quarterback Chuck Ealey, who guided Toledo to three unbeaten seasons before playing seven seasons in the CFL, where he became the first Black passer to win the Grey Cup, was named for induction into the U.S. College Football Hall of Fame on Monday.

Ealey was among 18 players and three coaches named in the 2022 class for induction Dec. 6 at a yet-to-be determined location.

Ealey was 35-0 as a starter at Toledo from 1969-71. He led the Rockets to three consecutive Tangerine Bowl victories, earning MVP honours in each contest.

Ealey finished his career as Toledo’s all-time leader with 5,275 passing yards and 45 touchdown passes. He’s one of just four players to have his number retired by the Rockets.

Ealey, a native of Portsmouth, Ohio, was bypassed in the 1972 NFL draft after making it clear he only wanted to play his position at a time when Black quarterbacks weren’t seriously considered in the league. He joined the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats and led the club to a Grey Cup title as a rookie.

Chuck Ealey with his daughter Jael Ealey-Richardson

The six-foot, 195-pound Ealey played with Hamilton (1972-74), Winnipeg (1974-75) and Toronto (1975-78). He was the league’s top rookie and an East Division all-star in 1972 and capped his first season in Canada by being named the Grey Cup MVP.

He finished his CFL career with 13,326 passing yards and 82 touchdowns.

Other former players named for induction include former NFL stars LaVar Arrington (linebacker, Penn State, 1997-99), Champ Bailey (defensive back, Georgia 1996-98), Michael Crabtree (receiver, Texas Tech 2007-08) and Andrew Luck (quarterback, Stanford 2009-11).