May 8, 2024

Mike Walker, Bernie Custis to Join Tiger-Cats Wall of Honour

Hall of Famer, 1986 Grey Cup champion Walker becomes 27th Wall of Honour inductee

Groundbreaking Custis joins the wall as a builder


The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Alumni Association (HTCAA) announced Wednesday, that Canadian Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman Mike Walker will become the 27th person added to the Tiger-Cats Wall of Honour. Bernie Custis (posthumous), who became the first black player to play quarterback in modern professional football in 1951, will become the first builder inducted since Jake Gaudaur in 2004.


Walker’s name and number 61 and Custis’ name will join the 26 other distinguished Wall of Honour inductees on the facade on the west side of Tim Hortons Field during a special halftime ceremony on Friday, October 4, when the Tiger-Cats host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.


“It’s truly a privilege to have two people as deserving of this honour as Mike Walker and Bernie Custis. They both exemplified what it means to be Hamilton Tiger-Cats and members of the Hamilton community and their impacts on the city and region are still felt today. I can’t wait to join all the Hamilton Tiger-Cats fans in celebrating these truly deserving people on October 4 at Tim Hortons Field.” Said Bob Young, Caretaker of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.


Mike Walker (Defensive Lineman 1982-89)

Walker played 108 games over his eight seasons in Hamilton (1982-89), winning a Grey Cup with the franchise in 1986. During his time in black & gold, the Indianapolis, Indiana native was named a CFL and East Division All-Star three times (1987-89) and posted the third most sacks in franchise history (82) while his 21 sacks in 1986 are the third most in a season by any Tiger-Cat and the 11th most in league history. He was inducted to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2021.


“I can’t thank Mr. Caretaker Bob Young, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the alumni association enough for granting me this great honour. Every time I took the field as a Ticat I was competing for the city of Hamilton, and I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to compete for this great fan base and team. I want to thank the ownership group, all my former teammates and of course the fans for being by my side this whole time and I’m looking forward to seeing you all in October.” Said Walker.


Bernie Custis (Builder)

Custis played 50 games over his four seasons in Hamilton and was named an all-star at both quarterback (1951) and running back (1954) but his biggest impacts came off the field. The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, native became the first black quarterback in modern football history and helped pave the way for the likes of Warren Moon and Chuck Ealey. He was inducted to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame as a builder in 1998.


A local teacher and elementary school principal in the Hamilton Board of Education, Custis devoted his life to giving back to the local community. He spent over 30 years coaching amateur football in the greater Hamilton area at Sheridan College, McMaster University, junior football’s Burlington Braves and more, racking up six Eastern College Championships, three Ontario Championships and two Eastern Canadian Championships.


The Wall of Honour is the single largest acknowledgement of excellence that a member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats organization can be given and is based on a rigorous criteria collectively established by the Wall of Honour Committee. It symbolizes elite performance over a sustained period wearing the Black and Gold as evidenced by the legendary names honoured in the past. The winner is voted upon by a committee composed of members from the Club, HTCAA, local media and the team’s TigerTown Council


Since 1998, 26 players and builders have been named to the Wall of Honour: Rocky DiPietro, Bernie Faloney, Ellison Kelly, Angelo Mosca, Tommy Joe Coffey, Garney Henley, John Barrow, Ben Zambiasi, Ralph Sazio, Grover Covington, Jake Gaudaur, Earl Winfield, Bill Danychuk, Joe Zuger, Less Browne, Don Sutherin, Vince Scott, Tommy Grant, Paul Osbaldiston, Pete Neumann, Bob Krouse, Willie Bethea, Joe Montford, Rob Hitchcock, Danny McManus and Darren Flutie.