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Profile: Kenneth Lehmann

Profile: Kenneth Lehmann
By France Griggs Sloat

KENNETH LEHMANN

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, 1964

Senior sales manager, Ottawa Sun, Sun Media

Stittsville, Ontario, Canada

Baked Goods | Growing up in Louisville, Lehmann and his brothers worked in their father’s bakery when they weren’t playing football or practicing their music lessons. The job taught him a strong work ethic and an understanding of the importance of sales. He also discovered football was more fun than the saxophone.

Chubby Baby | “I started playing football in sixth grade. We were chubby boys back then because we ate every second doughnut in the bakery, but we developed physically and lost the chubbiness and became good athletes.”

Night Shift | “I started at midnight on Friday and worked through the night. On Tuesdays, I would work before school for four hours and then go to school. We had breakfast and doughnuts, a lunch counter and a dairy counter. My dad was very successful.”

Transfer | A Notre Dame wannabe, Lehmann accepted a football scholarship to Marquette instead. But Marquette cut the program his freshman year, so he transferred to Xavier. He wasn’t sorry.

Football and X | “I enjoyed Xavier. I played with a couple fellows from Louisville and we’d go back and forth on weekends. I was co-captain and played middle linebacker. Overall I thought I did pretty good. We beat Kentucky and Roger Staubach’s team at Cincinnati. We had a pretty good team back in those days.”

Legions | Lehmann earned several honors including Most Valuable Lineman in his junior and senior years. The highlight, however, was being named to the Legion of Honor, the highest honor a Musketeer could earn, in 1964, the year he graduated.

Oh, Canada | In December of his senior year, he got some inquiries from the NFL, but a coach for the Ottawa Rough Riders recruited him to the Canadian Football League. The bonus was in Canada, a player could work a regular job and play football.

Rough Riders | “I thought, Why not try it? It turned out very successful. I played right off the bat. The first year I had a lot of injuries but played anyway, then in 1966 I should have won Lineman of the Year.”

Just the Facts | Lehman played for Ottawa from 1965-1971 and the British Columbia Lions in 1972. He was a Canadian Football League All-Star from 1965-1969 and was part of two Grey Cup titles for the Rough Riders. In 1965 he won the Hiram Walker Trophy and was invited to join the Eastern Football Conference All Star Team. In 1968 he was named CFL Lineman of the Year.

Radio | When he wasn’t playing football, Lehmann put his degree to work as an advertising salesman for radio. After 17 years in radio, he joined a group that started a weekly paper, the Sunday Herald, which was sold to the Sun newspapers chain. Now he works in sales for the Ottawa Sun of Sun Media and, at age 70, is contemplating retirement.

Never Too Late | Despite all the recognition Lehmann received, he was overlooked by the Canadian Football Hall of Fame until this year. The people who run the Hall have created a category for veteran players, and in September, Lehmann will be inducted into the Hall.

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