Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'You Don't Stop Coaching': B.C. Lions Open Camp with Wally Buono Back in Charge

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'You Don't Stop Coaching': B.C. Lions Open Camp with Wally Buono Back in Charge

Article excerpt

B.C. Lions open camp with Buono at the helm


KAMLOOPS, B.C. - In some ways, Wally Buono never really stopped coaching the B.C. Lions.

Sure, he stepped down from the post following the club's Grey Cup victory in 2011, citing fatigue and a desire to focus on management duties, but like many retirees found it difficult to walk away from something that had defined him professionally.

"This is the thing that I didn't realize: you don't stop coaching ... you just don't have the responsibility," said Buono. "That's nobody's fault but my own. I'm not blaming myself for it because you are a coach, you were a coach, you are a coach."

Even as the Lions' general manager and vice-president of football operations, two positions he still holds, Buono would often survey practice from up close, sometimes offering tips to players on how to better execute a drill.

"Your mind and the way you see things doesn't change," he said.

Buono's protege, Mike Benevides, took over as coach in 2012, but was axed after three seasons that saw B.C.'s record slide from 13-5 to 11-7 to 9-9, including 0-3 in the playoffs. Jeff Tedford, a high-profile U.S. college coach, then lasted one disappointing 7-11 campaign in 2015 that culminated with another one-and-done playoff.

With the Lions suffering from declining results in the standings and, perhaps more importantly, a declining profile in the Vancouver market, Buono and owner David Braley agreed this winter that the best course of action was to have the 66-year-old return to the sidelines.

"There is an urgency to everything we do," Buono said as the Lions opened training camp Sunday. "Sometimes being in the fire is better than bringing somebody into the fire. I knew what we needed to do to improve the football club.

"How can we expedite that? The way I looked at it was that if I was going to be involved, maybe the best thing to do was be 100 per cent involved."

Buono won a record 254 games during his first 22 seasons -- the first 13 years were with the Calgary Stampeders followed by nine with the Lions -- and said he feels reinvigorated by the challenge ahead. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.