The Calgary Stampeders congratulate the 2020 class of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame including four inductees with connections to the organization.
John Hufnagel – who has spent almost 25 years with the Red and White in a number of capacities including player, offensive coordinator, head coach and currently general manager and president – is being inducted in the builders’ category while quarterback Henry Burris and offensive lineman Fred Childress are being enshrined in the players’ category. Also part of the group is former Stamps quarterback Greg Vavra, who is being honoured for his distinguished career with the University of Calgary Dinos.
Hufnagel has been Stampeders general manager since 2008 and he served as the Stamps’ head coach from 2008 to 2015, amassing a 102-41-1 record for a .712 winning percentage, which is tops in CFL history among all head coaches with at least 100 games on the sidelines.
He is a two-time winner of the Annis Stukus Trophy as the CFL’s coach of the year and he has been a part of four Grey Cup championships as a member of the Red and White – as offensive coordinator in 1992, as head coach/GM in 2008 and 2014 and as president/general manager in 2018.
In 2019, Hufnagel was awarded the recipient of the CFL’s Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award for his contributions to the league.
The Stampeders have reached double digits in victories in each of the 12 seasons since Hufnagel’s return to Calgary in 2008 and have accumulated seven first-place finishes in the West Division while qualifying for the post-season every year.
Hufnagel began his coaching career in 1987 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders as a player/coach. In 1990, he joined the Stampeders as offensive coordinator under Wally Buono. In this role, Hufnagel helped guide the team to three Grey Cup games, including a championship in 1992.
After spending a decade 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, Hufnagel returned to the CFL on Dec. 3, 2007.
Prior to coaching, Hufnagel starred at Penn State University and played professionally in the NFL with the Denver Broncos and for 12 years in the CFL with the Stampeders (1976-79), Saskatchewan Roughriders (1980-83, 1987) and Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1984-86).
Burris spent 10 of his 18 CFL seasons with the Stampeders and is Calgary’s all-time leader in most significant passing categories including yards (32,191), attempts (3,677), completions (2,267) and touchdowns (203). He is also eighth in franchise history with 3,724 rushing yards.
The Temple University product joined the Stampeders in 1997 and was a backup on the Stamps’ 1998 Grey Cup-championship team. After three seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and time in the NFL with the Chicago Bears, Burris returned to Calgary in 2005 and played seven more seasons for the Stamps. He was a West Division all-star three times and was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player in 2010. He was Calgary’s nominee for MOP on four occasions.
Burris was the Grey Cup MVP in 2008 as he led the Stamps to a championship.
The Spiro, Okla., native was traded to Hamilton in 2012 and spent two years with the Tiger-Cats before wrapping up his career with three seasons in Ottawa. He earned two East Division all-star nods, won a second MOP award in 2015 and was the Grey Cup MVP in 2016 as he helped the RedBlacks win a title.
Burris finished his CFL career with 4,649 completions for 63,639 yards and 373 touchdowns. He is third all-time in CFL history in both yards and touchdowns.
The Little Rock, Ark., product played a total of 13 seasons in the CFL. He spent eight years with the Stamps (1996-2003) after starting his CFL career with one season apiece for two of the league’s American-based franchises – the Shreveport Pirates in 1994 and the Birmingham Barracudas in 1995. He finished with three seasons in Saskatchewan.
Childress earned CFL all-star recognition six times – including five times as a member of the Stamps – and was voted the CFL’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman in 1998.
Nicknamed “Big Chill,” Childress was the Stamps’ nominee for Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman in 1997, 1998 and 2000 and he won two Grey Cup rings (1998, 2001) with the Red and White.
He played college football at Arkansas and played 31 games in the NFL with New England and Cleveland before coming to the CFL.
Vavra was the first player in University of Calgary history to win the Hec Crighton Trophy as the most outstanding player in Canadian college football. That honour occurred in 1983, the same year he led the Dinos to the first Vanier Cup championship in program history.
An alumnus of Calgary’s Bishop Grandin High School, Vavra was named a conference all-star on four occasions and was all-Canadian in 1983. Vavra’s No. 17 is retired by the Dinos and he was part of the school’s inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame class in 1995. He is the school’s all-time leader with 8,401 career passing yards.
In addition to his playing accomplishments, Vavra contributed to the Dinos as a member of the coaching staff from 2006 to 2016.
His five-year CFL playing career included two seasons (1984-1985) with the Stampeders. He threw for 2,292 yards and 11 touchdowns as a member of the Red and White.