Calgary Stampeders president and general manager John Hufnagel has officially entered the Canadian Football Hall of Fame as a builder.
The Cochrane resident was announced as a 2020 inductee and was among the 13 football legends and builders who were recognized at the Hall of Fame Game in Hamilton over the weekend.
After 12 years as a quarterback with three teams, Hufnagel began a coaching career that spanned 15 years and culminated in a seven-year tenure as the head coach of Calgary.
In 1987, he signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders as a player/coach. In 1990, he joined the Stampeders as offensive coordinator under Wally Buono, where he helped guide the team to three Grey Cup games, including a championship in 1992.
Hugnagel went on to spend a decade coaching in the United States, including a two-year stint as head coach/GM of the Arena league’s New Jersey Red Dogs and time on the coaching staffs of the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, and New York Giants. He returned to the CFL on Dec. 3, 2007.
He holds the CFL regular-season record of 102-41-1 as head coach, and a winning percentage of .712 – the highest mark among coaches with more than 100 games.
Prior to coaching, Hufnagel starred at Penn State University and played professionally in the NFL with the Denver Broncos, followed by 12 years in the CFL with the Stampeders (1976-79), Saskatchewan Roughriders (1980-83, 1987), and Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1984-86).
He captured the Grey Cup multiple times, once as a player (1984), once as an assistant coach (1992), twice as a head coach (2008, 2014), and three times as a GM (2008, 2014, 2018).
Hufnagel was twice named the recipient of the Annis Stukus Award as the CFL’s Coach of the year (2008, 2014). He was named the Stampeders’ president and general manager in 2016.
In 2019, he was the recipient of the CFL’s Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award for his contributions to the league.
Hufnagel was given one reason to celebrate in Hamilton with the Stamps' come-from-behind overtime win against the Ti-Cat. The Stamps were down 24-10 at the end of the third quarter before turning it around with 20 points in the fourth to tie the game 30-30 by the end of regulation. They scored a field goal in overtime for the win.
Several other former Stamps were inducted into the hall of fame last weekend, including Henry Burris, Lewis, and Fred Childress. Each earned two Grey Cup rings with the Stamps.
Also inducted was quarterback Greg Vavra, who helmed the Dinos in their 1983 Vanier Cup season. He played in the CFL for five seasons, two of them with the Stampeders.