Bernie Custis, American-born Canadian professional football player, Died at 88


Bernie Custis was born on September 23, 1928 and died on February 23, 2017.

He was an American and Canadian football player.

Curtis went on to a distinguished coaching career.

Bernie was known for being the first black professional quarterback in the modern era and first in professional Canadian football, starting for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1951.

He was a star quarterback at Syracuse University in 1948, 1949 and 1950, setting numerous Syracuse records that would last for decades.

He was recruited by Coach Reaves Baysinger, who was replaced by Ben Schwartzwalder after a 1–8 season.

Curtis played the first two seasons of the Coach Schwartzwalder’s 25-year tenure at Syracuse. The team went 4–5 in 1949 and 5–5 in 1950.

Following the end of his professional career, he stayed in Canada and began a career as a teacher and elementary school principal.

He did that while he coached junior level football, most notably with the Oakville Black Knights and Burlington Braves of the Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL).

Bernie Custis passed away at 88 years old.