BC Lions Wally Buono named CFL coach of the year

Another CFL award for BC

After wrapping up a 22-year coaching career with his fifth Grey Cup victory, Wally Buono is taking home the title of CFL coach of the year for the 2011 season for the BC Lions.

Buono was awarded the Annis Stukus Trophy last week in Toronto over fellow nominees Edmonton Eskimos coach Kavis Reed, and Winnipeg Blue Bombers coach Paul LaPolice.

His 22 seasons coaching in the CFL were first spent wth the Calgary Stampeders from 1990-2002, and then with the BC Lions as head coach and GM from 2003 to the latest 99th Grey Cup victory.

It was Wally’s second Grey Cup win with the Lions. Bringing his team back from a 0-5 start to ultimately beat the Bombers 34-23 on home turf couldn’t have been a better way to end a fulfilling coaching career.

Modestly, Buono told the Vancouver Sun that although winning the CFL championship at BC Place last November was a great moment in his career, it wasn’t necessarily his best season.

Wally Buono

Wally Buono named CFL coach of the year

“Look, it’s an eight-team league, somebody’s got to win it. You should win (a Grey Cup) every 10 years, at least.

I’ve been 15-3 three times, been 14-4 twice. To be honest, I probably  coached better those years. But being a good coach, doing a good job,  isn’t always rewarded by winning. Or by winning a championship.

What I’m proud of, both players and the B.C. Lions organization, is that there were no rats  jumping off the sinking ship when we were 1-6. No cloak and dagger.

The coaches  didn’t turn on the players, which believe me sometimes occurs, and when it does,  you’ve got no chance.”

This marks the fourth season that Wally Buono has been named CFL coach of the Year – including 1992, 1993 and 1996 – second only to Don Matthews who had won five.

Buono stepped down as head coach of the Lions in December of 2011, and is continuing on as general manager of the team, with newly appointed head coach Mike Benevides taking the reigns.


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