Michael (Pinball) Clemons was an all-star Canadian Football League running back for 12 seasons. He brought the same verve and passion with him as a head coach with the Toronto Argonauts — never at a loss for words when speaking to the media or to his players.
His dressing room speeches were classics. Urging his charges to greater heights and imploring them to give that little extra, his bombast leading the Argos to a 24-17 victory over the British Columbia Lions in the 2004 Grey Cup final.
Londoner Jude St. John, a six-foot-four 320-pound guard who starred at Banting Secondary School and the University of Western Ontario was at the top of his game that year and nobody appreciated him more than Pinball.
Looking back on that championship year and others, Pinball said: “I love Jude St. John the player, the person, and maybe most of all, the family man.”
Jude and his wife Nicole, a graduate registered nurse, are the proud parents of five children: Ena, Mara, Adele, Judah and Arwen. Now that’s a family!
Jude rose to prominence as captain of Western’s 1994 Vanier Cup champions coached by London hall-of-famer Larry Haylor. His achievements were also recognized when he was named to the Mustangs football wall of fame in 2010.
Drafted by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1995 Jude played three seasons with the black and gold before moving to Toronto. All told he played in 209 CFL games over a span of 14 years.
Jude received a BA in physical education at Western and a Bachelar of Education degree at Alhouse College. His teaching career included 11 years with the Thames Valley District board as a substitute mostly at the secondary school level.
Jude is an accomplished speaker and draws on his experience as a professional athlete, accomplished hunter and outdoorsman, and as a certified teacher. He is easily approachable and excels at bringing motivation to all kinds of groups, youth through adult.
He is often seen at various tournaments, openings, fundraising, autograph sessions, banquets, and church events.
Jude’s other love is for the outdoors. He is a valued supporter of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Ducks Unlimited and events such as the Sportsmen’s Show at the CNE and London Outdoors Show. He has been a representative with Avery Outdoors Pro-Staff, a company that manufactures waterfowl accessories for duck, goose, deer and turkey hunting.
Jude St. John — a busy man and wearer of many hats. The London Sports Hall of Fame is honoured to welcome this “gentle giant” into the Class of 2015 in the Athlete Modern category.