Lions hire former Argo all-star as defensive coordinator

The York Lions football team has announced the hiring of three-time Canadian Football League all-star Clifford Ivory as defensive coordinator.

Clifford IvoryThe long-time Toronto Argonauts defensive back joins the Lions coaching staff after a seven-year CFL playing career that included three all-star selections (2002-2004) and a Grey Cup in 2004 with the Argos.

Right: Clifford Ivory

“It is exciting to come to York, especially having the chance to teach younger guys,” said Ivory, who played from the Argos from 2002-2006 after a year with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats from 2000-2001. “I just want the guys to have fun and always make the best of every opportunity. If we do that, everything else will take care of itself. It’s going to be a great time.”

Ivory helped out the Lions coaching staff as an advisor last year. He worked under new interim head coach Andy McEvoy, who was the defensive coordinator last season.

“I’ve already had a chance to work with Cliff and I know he is dependable and works hard,” McEvoy said. “He is a great guy and he puts in the hours.”

Ivory, 32, played 85 regular season games and nine playoff games with the Argos. He was honoured by his teammates as the Argos’ representative for the CFL Players Association’s Tom Pate Award, which acknowledges outstanding community involvement in 2004. A native of Thomasville, Georgia, Ivory recorded 20 interceptions with Toronto and is tied for the most career interception return touchdowns as an Argo with five.

Ivory was a favourite of Argos head coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons, who saluted the valued member of the secondary when his time with the team ended earlier this year.

“(Ivory’s) true greatness is in his unique ability to touch and affect people,” Clemons said. “From the airplane celebration after a big play to agreeing to attend a birthday party for a kid he just met, Clifford Ivory is one of the best people I have ever had the opportunity to meet.”

A product of Troy State University, Ivory was a sixth-round pick in the NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers in 1998. He played in NFL Europe with the Scottish Claymores in 1999 before coming to the CFL.

Ivory’s on-field duties began Aug. 21 when the Lions opened training camp with their first two-a-day practices. The Lions open regular season play on Labour Day (Sept. 3, 2pm) when they travel to Windsor to face the Lancers.

This story was submitted to YFile by Michael Koreen, sport & recreation information officer in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science.