Luzzi will be missed

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:36 PM ET

The Calgary Stampeders lost a member of the family with the passing of Don Luzzi.

The outstanding lineman was a fixture at McMahon Stadium since arriving in Calgary in 1958.

He played on both sides of the ball but was best remembered as one of the toughest defensive linemen of his era.

Luzzi, who died last month at the age of 70 after a lengthy illness, had an immediate impact on the team and CFL upon arriving from Villanova, winning the league's top lineman award in his first season.

The Hall-of-Fame career continued until 1969 when Luzzi moved full-time into the local business community, which is where current Stampeders executive vice-president Stan Schwartz said the big man made more of a difference.

In 1974, Luzzi started working with Chuckwagon Caterers, a position he held until the contract was sold to the Calgary Flames last off-season.

"He came up here and immediately made an impact, not only in the CFL but in the community," said Schwartz.

"He was involved with a lot of charity work and those types of things. He really gave of his time. The success of a community is because of the time people give and he gave a lot of it. He certainly displayed the Calgary spirit of volunteerism and he never asked for anything in return."

Luzzi is remembered as an engaging personality. He especially made light of the fact he could play every down of a football game but didn't really like running long distances.

"When Bobby Dobbs was the head coach, everybody had to complete a mile in a certain time and there were plenty of fans out to watch," Schwartz recalled.

"Don always struggled to finish it. One year, he came out on a swayback horse. That's how he was going to do the mile ... He was always good for a joke and laugh. He brought a lot to the locker-room."

Luzzi was inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame in 1985 and his name is on the Wall of Fame at McMahon Stadium.

But Schwartz said Luzzi never boasted about his accomplishments.

"He was always proud of what he accomplished in the CFL but never one to brag," Schwartz said.

"He was focused on doing the best job he could in the business community."


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