Jim Young will go down as one of the toughest players to ever dawn the orange and black of the BC Lions. “Dirty 30” as he was nicknamed was the heart and soul of the BC Lions from 1967 to 1979. Born in Hamilton Ontario, Young certainly inherited the toughness and work ethic of a steel worker, playing both in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings for parts the 1965-66 and 1966-1967 seasons, before joining the Lions via a trade in 1967.
After a stellar career at Hamilton’s Westdale High School, Young decided to accept a scholarship to Queen’s University where he was an all-star running back in each of his three seasons with the Golden Gaels. In 1963, he played on both the offensive and defensive teams. Young was a sought after commodity at the end of his college career, and was drafted first overall by Toronto Argonauts. However, when the Argos wouldn’t meet his contract demands, Young accepted an offer from the Vikings and caught on to play two seasons for the NFL club.
The Lions traded to obtain the rights to Young from the Toronto Argonauts, who held his Canadian rights. They traded the rights to BC for Dick Fouts and Bill Symons. And in a deal that would never happen today, The NFL Vikings then traded Jim to the CFL Lions for another Lions legend, quarterback Joe Kapp.
Upon his arrival in 1967, Young had an instant impact on the club hauling in 46 catches for 976 yards, and averaged no fewer than 45 catches a season for the six years between 1968 and 1973. Young was the Lions all-time leading receiver in yards until the 2008 season when his record was eclipsed by Geroy Simon. He was twice named the CFL’s most outstanding Canadian.
A versatile player, Young also saw carries at running back and was named a West Division all-star that position pone year. He also saw the occasional duty at kick off and punt returner. In fact in an injury plagued season in 1958, Jim played 10 different positions or the club.
The number on his jersey and his aggressive style of play quickly earned him the nickname “Dirty 30.” Despite a huge list of of injuries, which included a ripped kneecap, a dislocated shoulder, a hernia, and countless sutures, Young made no effort to change the way he played the game. Young was so tough and durable that he missed just three games in his entire 13 year football career.
Following his playing career, Young tried his hand at a management role with the club and briefly coached a troubled Lions team on an interim basis during the 1990 season.
Jim’s play and accomplishments didn’t unnoticed. During his career as a B.C Lion, he received the most Schenley Award nominations in the team’s history, 5 nominations for Most Outstanding Canadian (1967,69,70,71,72) and three for Most Outstanding Canadian in 1970 and 1972.
Young retired from the field in 1979 after 12 seasons with the Lions, over the course of which he had 522 pass receptions for 9,248 yards and 65 touchdowns. He continues as a BC Lions ambassador and appears at many club events.
- Inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1991.
- Inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.
- Inducted to the B.C. Lions Wall of Fame.
- Inducted into the Queens University Hall of Fame.
- All CFL Western Running Back – 1969
- All CFL Western Wide Receiver – 1972.
- Schenley Most Outstanding Canadian Award – 1970, 1972.
- Young was voted to the Honour Roll of the CFL’s top 50 players of the league’s modern era by Canadian sports network TSN.
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