Michael "Pinball" Clemons

CFL Legend, Philanthropist and Vice Chairman of the Toronto Argonauts

Michael "Pinball" Clemons

Few people exemplify the qualities of personal excellence, teamwork, community leadership, and overcoming the odds better than CFL legend Michael “Pinball” Clemons.

With boundless energy, Pinball’s talks centre on the potential for each of us to achieve anything we set our minds to. Unabashedly emotional and impactful, he shows audiences how to put heart into everything they do.

Pinball joined the National Football League in 1987, and the Toronto Argonauts (and the CFL) in 1989. He was nicknamed “Pinball” because of his running style: his diminutive size and extraordinary balance allowed him to “bounce” between defensive players, drawing comparisons to a pinball machine. 

In 1990, he was honoured with the CFL’s “most outstanding player” award, after setting the single-season record for all-purpose yards. He played his last game as an Argonaut in 2000, before becoming head coach of the team. In 2007, Pinball stepped down as head coach to become the Chief Executive Officer; in 2009, he was appointed to Vice-Chair of the team. That same year, he founded the Michael “Pinball” Clemons Foundation, which is dedicated to helping disadvantaged youth.  To date he has built over 300 schools in third world countries.

An author, philanthropist and entrepreneur, Pinball is also a member of the distinguished Order of Ontario, and recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to the community. Mike’s proudest accomplishment is to be the husband of Diane, and the father of Rachel, Raven and Rylie.

 

    Topics 
  1. All Heart

    Mike Clemons' football career was characterized by incredible perseverence and great skill. At only 5 feet 6 inches and 170 pounds, he won against all odds. He succeeded while others predicted failure, gave more when less would have been satisfactory. All Heart is the story of a young man guided by fierce determination. Michael is an athlete with true character, an incredibly generous spirit and a quiet dignity that shines on and off the field. Michael tells how his upbringing has shaped him, how his steadfast faith has always guided him, and how his commitment to his team and his community is much more than just a professional veneer, but a deeply held feeling of true spirit and belonging.

  2. The Importance of Teamwork

    Toronto Argonauts former coach and player Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons is a man of unquestionable character and spirit. Not only is he renowned for his achievements on the football field, Pinball’s aptitude for motivational speaking is undeniable. His presentations are at once captivating and empowering. He exemplifies the capabilities of teamwork and leadership while demonstrating what it means to beat the odds.

    Michael’s tireless community involvement and participation in countless charitable causes exemplify the qualities he possesses, which are so rarely found in today’s professional athletes. His presentations are at once captivating and empowering, and clearly demonstrate the capabilities of teamwork.

  3. Winning Against All Odds

    Renowned as one of pro football’s most electrifying players, Toronto Argonauts running back Michael “Pinball” Clemons is the CFL’s all time, all purpose yardage leader. However, it is his exceptional character, in addition to his outstanding athletic ability, which has made him the remarkable fan favourite he is throughout Canada.

    Michael’s tireless community involvement and participation in countless charitable causes exemplify the qualities he possesses, which are so rarely found in today’s professional athletes. His presentations are at once captivating and empowering, and clearly demonstrate the capabilities of teamwork.

    At only 5 feet 6 inches and 170 pounds, he also inspires his audiences by illustrating what is possible and what it means to beat the odds. Pinball communicates his heartfelt stories with a passionate spirit and his patented, contagious smile. Organizations respond to his presentations with rave reviews and overwhelming enthusiasm.

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