RIP JI Albrecht, Former Argos GM
This past Tuesday was a sad day for CFL fans across the country: J.I. Albrecht, a legendary football executive in our country, passed away in his Toronto nursing home at the age of 77.
In the past two years, Albrecht's deteriorating health had confined him to his nursing home, but most of us remember him as a man who breathed life into the CFL and as the man who hired Pinball Clemons to be the coach of the Toronto Argonauts.
Albrecht's storied career in sports management included stints in the NFL and NCAA, as well as the Montreal Alouettes, Ottawa Rough Riders, and of course, the Argos. He was a member of the Alouettes' front office during their championship seasons in 1970, 1974, and 1977, and was responsible for recruiting future CFL legends such as Anthony Davis, Wally Buono, Johnny Rodgers, Wonderful Monds, and Dickie Harris.
I met Albrecht once in a chance encounter in 2000 that lasted less than a minute. In that short time, however, I could see the passion he had not only for Canadian football, but for sports in general in this country.
Athletes get a lot of glory, but executives like Albrecht also deserve to be remembered for their own great contributions to Canadian sport. For someone who claimed that his initials stood for "Just Incredible," J.I. Albrecht's impact on the CFL was extraordinary.
Albrecht's funeral will be held today at the G.H. Hogle Funeral Home Mimico Chapel in Etobicoke, with viewing from 2pm to 4pm.
Photo: The Argos celebrate their Grey Cup victory in 2004 under coach Pinball Clemons, hired by J.I. Albrecht. Photo by Never Was An Arrow II.
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