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Legendary CFL coach Wally Buono retires

By David Stewart, November 9 2018—

Few Canadian Football League head coaches have influenced the game like current BC Lions head coach Wally Buono. With a combined 22 years as head coach of the Calgary Stampeders and BC Lions, he is tied for the most seasons coached in CFL history.

During his tenure, Buono became the CFL’s all-time winningest coach when his Lions beat the Toronto Argonauts to give him 232 regular season victories, passing the previous record of 231 held by Don Matthews. After a brief run as a general manager for the BC Lions, Buono returned to head coaching in 2016. During his reign as head coach he won five Grey Cups in nine appearances at the tournament. He recently announced his retirement, making this year his final year of coaching.

Buono has proven himself as a coach for the ages and earned much of his success during his time as Calgary’s head coach. As a head coach for the Stampeders, he was integral in the club’s success, including bringing home three Grey Cup wins. Buono also had the surprising opportunity to coach Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in 1995 for the two months he played for the Stampeders.

I had the good fortune to see Wally Buono when he coached for Calgary from the mid-2000s up until he moved to BC and his positive influence on the team was evident during his run. Not only did he bring success to the franchise but his wins bolstered the Calgary football community as a whole. His influence reached from varsity teams to the youth football program, the Atom.

Buono’s success is keenly remembered by Stampeders fans — on Oct. 13, when Buono’s Lions came to Calgary, a short presentation was played highlighting his career. Afterward, Buono received a standing ovation for two full minutes.

Buono’s time on the sidelines may be ending, but his legacy will live on in Calgary’s football community.

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