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John Payne (American football)

John D. Payne (May 15, 1933 – May 18, 2019) was an American collegiate and professional football coach. He served as head coach for the Saskatchewan Roughriders (1973–1976), Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1978–1980) and Ottawa Rough Riders (1996) of the Canadian Football League (CFL), compiling a career record of 62–63–3. Payne also was the head football coach at Abilene Christian University from 1985 to 1990, posting a mark of 26–34–2.

John Payne
Biographical details
Born(1933-05-15)May 15, 1933
Wewoka, Oklahoma
DiedMay 18, 2019(2019-05-18) (aged 86)
Alma materOklahoma State University
Playing career
1951–1954Oklahoma State
Position(s)Guard, center
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1966–1967BYU (OL)
1968–1969Edmonton Eskimos (OL)
1970Winnipeg Blue Bombers (assistant)
1971–1972Saskatchewan Roughriders (assistant)
1973–1976Saskatchewan Roughriders
1977Detroit Lions (OL)
1978–1980Hamilton Tiger-Cats
1981–1982TCU (OC)
1983–1984Arizona Wranglers (OL)
1985–1990Abilene Christian
1992Toronto Argonauts (OL)
1993Sacramento Gold Miners (OL)
1994BC Lions (OC)
1995Winnipeg Blue Bombers (DL)
1996London Monarchs (OL)
1996Ottawa Rough Riders (assistant)
1996Ottawa Rough Riders
1997Frankfurt Galaxy (OC)
1998New York CityHawks (OC)
Head coaching record
Overall62–63–3 (CFL)
26–34–2 (college)

Coaching careerEdit

After serving as an assistant with Central High School [1] and BYU,[2] Payne moved to the Canadian Football League in 1968. He served as an assistant with the Edmonton Eskimos, Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders before becoming the Roughriders head coach in 1973.[3] In his four season as head coach, Payne had a 40–23–1 record and led Saskatchewan to the 1976 Grey Cup.

In 1977, Payne left the Roughriders and joined the Detroit Lions. Payne and the rest of the coaching staff was fired at the end of the season.[4] He returned to the CFL, replacing Tom Dimitroff as head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats five games into the 1978 season.[5] He had some success with Hamilton, compiling an 18–24–1 record over three seasons and leading the team to the 1980 Grey Cup. After the Tiger-Cats trouncing at the hands of the Edmonton Eskimo dynasty 48–10 in the Grey Cup game, owner Harold Ballard indicated that he preferred recently fired Arizona State football coach Frank Kush over Payne, which led to his resignation.[6]

After leaving the Hamilton TigerCats, Payne went to Texas Christian University, where he coached as the offensive line coach under head coach F.A. Dry from 1981-1983. He then moved to Chicago to coach with the USFL team, the Chicago Blitz under George Allen. Payne moved to Arizona when the Blitz franchise was moved and became the Arizona Wranglers. In 1985, Payne became head coach at Abilene Christian University located in Abilene, Texas. He was the Wildcats head coach for six seasons [7][8] and had a coaching record of 26–34–2.

Payne returned to the CFL in 1993 as the offensive line coach for the Sacramento Gold Miners.[9] In 1995, Norton Herrick, an Orlando, Florida real estate developer, announced plans to move the CFL's Las Vegas Posse to Jackson, Mississippi. Payne was to be the club's head coach, however plans fell through and the relocation did not take place; the team instead folded.[10] In 1996, Payne, then an assistant with the Ottawa Rough Riders, was promoted to head coach.[11] He coached the team to a 3–11 record; the team finished the year 3–15. The Rough Riders ceased operations after the season and Payne became the final coach in the 120-year history of the team.

On November 18, 1997, the New York CityHawks of the Arena Football League named Payne offensive coordinator.

Head coaching recordEdit


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Abilene Christian Wildcats (Lone Star Conference) (1985–1990)
1985 Abilene Christian 5–4–2 2–3 T–4th
1986 Abilene Christian 7–3 4–2 T–2nd
1987 Abilene Christian 5–6 2–3 T–4th
1988 Abilene Christian 3–7 3–4 6th
1989 Abilene Christian 5–5 5–2 T–2nd
1990 Abilene Christian 1–9 1–6 T–6th
Abilene Christian: 26–34–2 17–20
Total: 26–34–2


Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Result
SSK 1973 10 6 0 .625 2nd in West Division 1 1 Lost in West Final
SSK 1974 9 7 0 .563 2nd in West Division 1 1 Lost in West Final
SSK 1975 10 5 1 .656 2nd in West Division 1 1 Lost in West Final
SSK 1976 11 5 0 .688 1st in West Division 1 1 Lost Grey Cup
HAM 1978 5 10 1 .344 3rd in East Division 0 1 Lost in East Semi-Final
HAM 1979 6 10 0 .375 3rd in East Division 0 1 Lost in East Semi-Final
HAM 1980 8 7 1 .531 3rd in East Division 1 1 Lost Grey Cup
OTT 1996 3 13 0 .188 Last in East Division Did not qualify
Total 62 63 3 .496 1 Division
5 7


  1. ^ "Lions Hire Assistant". Ludington Daily News. 1977-02-19. Retrieved 2009-06-23.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Coach Named". Spokane Daily Chronicle. 1972-12-21. Retrieved 2009-06-23.
  4. ^ "Hudspeth, staff ousted by Lions". St. Petersburg Times. 1978-01-10. Retrieved 2009-06-23.
  5. ^ "Tiger Cats Fire Head Coach". Toledo Blade. 1978-08-11. Retrieved 2009-06-23.
  6. ^ "Once-revered Kush starting all over". Toledo Blade. 1980-12-18. Retrieved 2009-06-23.
  7. ^ College Football Reference Abilene Christian University Football Records
  8. ^ 2008 Wildcat Football (media guide) Archived 2011-07-07 at the Wayback Machine ACU Record Book
  9. ^
  10. ^ Murray, Ken (April 15, 1995). "Posse dispersal draft is set". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
  11. ^ "People in Sports". Eugene Register-Guard. 1996-07-05. Retrieved 2009-06-23.