Orlondo Steinauer has received plenty of accolades during his extraordinary football journey. But his newest honor perhaps trumps them all.
Steinauer, who graduated from Lynnwood High School in 1991, was elected to the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame Class of 2021, the league announced Wednesday.
The 48-year-old and current head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats won two Grey Cups as a player in 1999 and 2004. He played 13 seasons in the CFL with the Ottawa Rough Riders, Hamilton, and the Toronto Argonauts.
As a defensive back, Steinauer amassed 49 interceptions in his CFL career and returned five for touchdowns. His 1,178 interception return yards are second most in CFL history behind Les Browne (1,508). Steinauer was a five-time CFL All-Star.
The CFL’s Hall of Fame Class of 2021 also includes defensive linemen Will Johnson and Mike Walker, wide receiver Nik Lewis, defensive back Don Wilson, former Montreal Alouettes head coach Marv Levy and the sixth CFL commissioner Doug Mitchell.
“It’s a special year for the Tiger-Cats with remarkable individuals with current and past ties to Hamilton being inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame,” said Hamilton caretaker Bob Young in a statement on the team’s website. “Congratulations to the entire 2021 Hall of Fame class, and specifically our own Coach Orlondo and Mike Walker, on their outstanding contributions to Canadian Football. We are all looking forward to celebrating with them at Tim Hortons Field in 2021.”
The formal induction of the Class of 2021 — now scheduled for Grey Cup Week this November in Hamilton — will bring the total number of CFL Hall of Fame members to 316.
“The Canadian Football Hall of Fame is proud to honour these individuals who have contributed so much to our game, on the field, on the sidelines and in the boardroom,” Greg Dick, Interim CFHOF Executive Director, said in a press release. “I would also like to thank the Selection Committee for their tireless work in selecting this year’s excellent class.”
After high school, Steinauer became a consensus All-American at Western Washington University and finished his college career with 20 interceptions.
In 2019, Steinauer was named the CFL’s Coach of the Year after leading the Tigers-Cats to a 16-4 record and an appearance in the Grey Cup.
Steinauer also spent time in the NCAA, serving as Fresno State’s defensive coordinator in 2017 as the Bulldogs produced a stunning turnaround from going 1-11 in 2016 to going 10-4 in Steinauer’s lone season at the school. Steinauer had brief trials in the NFL as a player, spending brief moments with the Detroit Lions straight out of college and with the Miami Dolphins in 2000, without sticking on either occasion.
“I got a sniff of what (the NFL) was like,” Steinauer told The Herald in 2019. “Was I able to make a career of it down there? Absolutely not. As far as coaching, I had an interview for a defensive backs job with Miami awhile back. But I’ve been grateful, and I’ve worked my tail off to be where I’m at now. I was able to play 12 years, largely because I was able to stay relatively healthy, but I kept to the grind wherever I was at and didn’t worry about other opportunities. If I’m supposed to go to the NFL and be able to be a head coach, that will present itself. But I’m going to work hard and do the best I can and let everything else take care of itself.”
Steinauer is a member of Western’s Athletic Hall of Fame and the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame.