Bernie Custis is a former American and Canadian football player who went on to a distinguished coaching career. He is known for being the first black professional quarterback in the modern era and first in professional Canadian football, starting for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union (Big Four) in 1951. He was both a quarterback and running back with the Tiger-Cats until 1954, prior to playing for Ottawa in 1955 and 1956.
He was a Grey Cup Winner with the Cats in 1953.
Custis was a star quarterback at Syracuse University from 1948 to 1950, setting numerous records that would last for decades.
Following his playing days Custis started a career as a teacher and principal and coached the East York, Oakville and Burlington Juniors.
From 1973 he won six straight Eastern titles with Sheridan College.
Custis then spent 8 years at McMaster University, starting in 1981 and took them from 7th to 1st place.
• OUAA Coach of the Year (1982,1984)
• CIAU Coach of the Year (1982)
• College All-Star Coach (1975, 1977, 1978)
• Inducted McMaster Athletic Hall of Fame (2000)
• Inducted Canadian Football Hall of Fame as Builder (1998)
• Inducted Syracuse University Athletic Hall of Fame (1977)
• Interprovincial Rugby Football Union All-Star Running Back (1954)
• Interprovincial Rugby Football Union All-Star Quarterback (1951)