Year Inducted: 1992
John Billing was one of the premier high school running backs in Canada in the 1960’s.
He began his career at St. Lawrence High School under Art Anderson. He was an explosive halfback who was a threat to score from anywhere on the field. A typical headline in the Freeholder read, “Billing’s 105 Yards Major Highlights SLHS Victory.” Other words used by the media to describe his play were: “fantabulous, spectacular, sparkling, and brilliant”. John’s running, kick returns, defensive play and leadership were key factors in St. Lawrence winning EOSSA Championships in 1962 and 1963.
Coaches and team mates recognized his contribution as well.
Among Billing’s individual football awards are: a league scoring Championship, co-captaincy of two Championship teams, and two Top Back Fielder trophies. In addition, John was selected as the Most Outstanding Athlete at St. Lawrence for his play in football, and basketball.
The Ottawa Rough Riders were also impressed by Billing’s ability. They invited him to their rookie camp in 1964. Here, competing against the best football players in Ontario, John was a standout.
North Central College in Illinois offered Billing a scholarship which he accepted. This put him in an elite class of football players since very few Canadians won scholarships in the USA. Not only did John go to North Central, but he played well enough to eventually become a starter and win his school letter.
While at college, Billing also competed on the track squad.
Another CFL team, the Montreal Alouettes, thought highly of Billing’s skill. He attended their rookie camp and did well despite finally being cut.
John was acknowledged by team mates, coaches, opponents, and the media as a truly outstanding football player.