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Tiger-Cats to add Walker, Custis to Wall of Honour

Bernie Custis Bernie Custis -

HAMILTON — The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will add Canadian Football Hall of Famers Mike Walker and Bernie Custis to the team's Wall of Honour this season.

The two will be honoured Oct. 4 at halftime of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats home game versus the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Walker appeared in 108 games over eight seasons with Hamilton (1982-89), helping the franchise win the 1986 Grey Cup. He posted the third-most sacks in franchise history (82) and 11th all-time. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2021.

Custis was a pro football pioneer, becoming the first Black quarterback in the sport's modern era with Hamilton in 1951. He appeared in 50 games over four seasons with the Ticats (1951-54), earning all-star nods at quarterback (1951) and running back (1954), helping pave the way for the likes of Warren Moon and Chuck Ealey to play quarterback in Canada.

Custis finished his CFL career with Ottawa (1955-56).

But Custis did more than play football in Hamilton, serving as a teacher and elementary school principal in the Hamilton Board of Education. He also spent over 30 years coaching amateur football at Sheridan College, McMaster University and the Burlington Braves -- a junior squad -- winning six Eastern College, three Ontario and two Eastern Canadian championships.

Custis was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame as a builder in 1998. He died in 2017 at the age of 88.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2024.