Joe Krol was the most celebrated player to attend Western in the twentieth century. He began his football career at Kennedy Collegiate in Windsor, earning numerous championships.
Krol came to Western in 1938 and played a season with the Colts due to the freshman rule. In 1939, he became a member of the undefeated Yates Cup champion team.
After graduating in 1942, he signed with the Hamilton Wildcats and led them to a Grey Cup championship the following year. He played with the Toronto Argonauts from 1945-52, during which time they won five Grey Cup championships.
Krol had a reputation as triple threat (running, passing and kicking). He played backfield but occasionally doubled on the defensive line and was known for playing a full 60 minutes. John Metras who coached him during his tenure at Western said “It’s hard to find a ball player who is a triple threat and who can play defence. Joe was probably the best two-way football player I have ever seen.”
During his time with the Argonauts he earned the title of “King Krol” from the media. Denny Boyd and Brian Scrivener provide this explanation for the nickname: “Joe Krol was the killer they couldn’t stop. That’s why they called him King Krol: he didn’t just play well, he reigned.” Krol held a number of Grey Cup records and his number fifty-five jersey is one of only four retired by the Argonauts. In 1946, he earned the Jeff Russel MemorialTrophy as the Eastern Division’s most outstanding player, the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete, the Lionel Conacher Award for Canada’s male athlete of the year and was honoured as the Canadian Press male athlete of the year and again in 1947. Krol retired in 1952 but returned to play one final season for the Toronto Argonauts in 1955 as kicker. Since his retirement Krol has been awarded many honours, including those below.
- Canadian Football Hall of Fame Inductee – 1963
- Canada Sports Hall of Fame Inductee – 1978
- W Club Hall of Fame Inductee – 1978
- Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame – 1981