BC Lions coach Wally Buono, a South Surrey resident, speaks with the media after a practice earlier this month at the team’s training facility. (Nick Greenizan photo)

Tributes aside, retiring BC Lions’ coach focused on ‘winning the next game’

Wally Buono will end his CFL coaching career with at least one playoff game

It’s not quite ‘Mission Accomplished’ just yet – that would require a Grey Cup victory later this year – but for BC Lions coach Wally Buono, last week’s win over the Edmonton Eskimos was an important game, nonetheless.

The victory – 42-32 win Oct. 19 at B.C Place – improved the Lions’ Canadian Football League record to 9-7, and cemented for the team a playoff berth, ensuring that Buono’s final season on the sidelines lasts just a little bit longer than the 18-game regular season.

• READ ALSO: ‘Business as usual’ as BC Lions’ Wally Buono enters final CFL season

The goal of qualifying for the post-season has been front-and-centre for the Surrey resident and his Leos all season who, despite a 3-6 start to the season, have been among the league’s hottest teams of late.

That focus hasn’t waned, even if Buono is still peppered by retirement questions during his media scrums – a fact of life since he announced prior to the season that 2018 would be his final year.

“This year’s been up and down… but at this point, no, I haven’t had a change of heart (about retirement),” he explained after a recent practice at the team’s Surrey training facility.

While the Lions are in the playoffs, their postseason path is anything but decided. They could play any number of teams depending on how the rest of the regular season plays out – scenarios that include crossing over to the East Division.

The Lions play the Saskatchewan Roughriders Saturday in Regina.

And while Buono has been loathe to make this final season an overly sentimental farewell tour, there have been a few moments in which he’s had a chance to reflect on a career that will see him retire as the winningest coach in CFL history.

At training camp in Kamloops, his family – including wife Sande, four children and six grand-children – joined him for the team’s Fan Fest event, and prior to the team’s game in Calgary Oct. 13, the Stampeders honoured Buono, who coached in Cowtown from 1987-2002, with a pre-game video tribute.

For Buono, the opportunity to look back on his time in Calgary – in which he led the Stamps to six Grey Cup games and three titles – “was nice” but he insisted it was probably more fun for his current players to see video clips of their then-younger coach on the big screen at McMahon Stadium.

“I think it was nice for the players to see it all… and I have a lot of good memories,” he said.

However, video tributes and media inquiries asides, the longtime football coach is focused on the rest of the season and, hopefully, a long playoff run.

“It’s about winning the next game – that’s my sole focus,” he said.



sports@peacearchnews.com

Visit us at peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC LionsCFL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rod Peters resigns as mayor of Lake Cowichan

Byelection expected in the fall

Cowichan RCMP looking for someone who shone laser at aircraft

Several instances reported over Cowichan Valley

Cowichan’s Waldon Park ready for Gord Closson Classic

the Gord Closson Fall Classic will kick off its second half-century this August 21-23

Sonia Furstenau column: MCFD needs overhaul of requirements for social workers

BCASW advocating for mandatory registration for social workers with B.C. College of Social Workers.

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Most Read