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Les Lear (August 22,1918 - January 5,1979)

Athlete/Football
Inducted 2019

Born on August 22, 1918 in Grafton, North Dakota Les Lear moved to Canada and grew up in Manitoba where he learned to play football with the Deer Lodge juniors. Lear also played guard for the University of Manitoba football team.

He was recruited by Coach Reg Threlfall to play professionally for the Winnipeg Football Club in 1938 and was an all-star lineman recognized on Lionel Conacher’s All-Canadian team three times (1939/41/42) and MacLean’s Magazine All-Canadian team four times (1939-42). Lear helped the Winnipeg Blue Bombers win Grey Cups in 1939 and again in 1941. While serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1942-43 Lear played for the Winnipeg RCAF Bombers. He played in a total of five Grey Cup games.

After the Second World War Les Lear played in the National Football League from 1944-47 with the Cleveland Rams, and research suggests he was the first-ever Canadian-trained football player to play in the NFL. Lear returned to the Canadian Football League in 1948 to coach the Calgary Stampeders to an undefeated season and their first Grey Cup in franchise history. Upon retiring from pro football he became involved with thoroughbred horse racing as both a trainer and an owner.

Les Lear was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1974. He was also inducted with the inaugural class of the Winnipeg Football Club as a player in 1984. He passed away on January 5, 1979.

 

 

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