When asked to name some of the greatest BC Lions of the past, there are few that would not name Lui Passaglia. Born in Vancouver on June 2th, 1954, Passagila would go on to a 25 year career that would leave him among the greatest kickers/punters to play in the Canadian Football League.Passaglia was a kicker in the pros, but in his school days he played quarterback for Notre Dame high school, before playing wide receiver and handling the kick duties at Simon Fraser University. Passaglia was drafted in the 5th round of the 1976 Canadian College Draft by his hometown Lions and minus a brief stint with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, he would spend his entire career in orange and black.
Passaglia became a huge fan favorite among the Lions faithful and when it was third down and a field goal was to be attempted chants of “Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu” echoed through the stadium.
Passaglia’s greatest moment as a Lion came in 1994 when the home town Lions hosted the Baltimore Stallions in the Grey Cup game with national pride on the line before 55,097 fans at BC Place Stadium. It was the first time an American team would attempt to take Lord Grey’s cup south of the 49th.
The game was a tightly contested, and with the score tied at 23-23 in the fourth quarter, Passaglia had a chance to put the Lions ahead, but missed a 37 yard attempt. Luckily for the Lions and Lui, he was given another shot, this time from 38 yards, and the greatest Lions kicker of all-time made no mistake. With no time left on the clock, he split the uprights and gave the Lions the win, and kept the cup in Canada where it belonged.
Passaglia participated in the league final five times, coming out on the winning end in three of those games.
Passaglia retired in style after the Lions won the 2000 Grey Cup. Following his 25 year career, Passaglia moved into a community relations position with the club, before leaving the team in 2007 to pursue personal business interests. He’s still a team ambassador and appears at many community events for the team throughout the year and remains one of BC’s most recognizable sports personalities.
- Inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
- Named a Western Division all-star 9 times.
- Named a CFL all-star 4 times.
- All-time punt leader with 3,142 punts for 133,826 yards.
- First player to score over 200 points in a season with 214 in 1987.
- Played in 408 games amassing 3,991 points.
- Attempted 1,203 field goals, making 875.
- Made 1,104 converts, including 506 consecutive.
- Most outstanding Canadian in the Grey Cup game: 1985, 1994
More Lui Passaglia:
- Lui Passaglia: Canadian Football Hall of Fame
- Lui Passaglia: BC Sports Hall of Fame
- Video: Passaglia’s winning field goal in the 1994 Grey Cup