Monday, December 5, 2011

Wally Out, Benavides In

Wally Buono is stepping away from the sidelines to concentrate on his managerial duties with the B.C. Lions.
The announcement came just over a week after Buono guided his club to a 34-23 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Grey Cup. Buono was named vice-president of football operations and will retain his general manager's title.

“It was something that I've been contemplating for years,” Buono said Monday at the team's practice facility.

Buono posted a 101-60-1 record with the Lions after joining the team as GM and coach in 2003. He led B.C. to a pair of Grey Cup wins, seven division final appearances and five first-place finishes in the West Division.

“This is a day of mixed emotions for our organization,” Lions president Dennis Skulsky said. “We have been fortunate to have witnessed coaching excellence during Wally's time at the helm of the Lions and I know all of us are saddened to see him step aside.

“We are thrilled however, that his leadership and experience as a vice-president and GM will be the guiding force as we set about to find his replacement and begin a new chapter for the B.C. Lions.”

Buono has a 254-139-3 record over 22 seasons as a coach with the Lions and Calgary Stampeders. He has won five Grey Cups in that time – two with B.C. (2006, 2011) and three with Calgary (1992, 1998, 2001).
“I have often said that coaches don't win games, it's the players that win games,” Buono said. “With that in mind, I am forever indebted to some of our league's greatest talents for their effort and dedication to our great game.”

Toronto made a similar move last Thursday when Jim Barker announced he would step aside as head coach to focus on his GM duties. The Argonauts hired Scott Milanovich as their head coach.
Just after the show, I received a text saying Mike Benavides--who was just given permission by the Lions to speak to the Riders about their head coaching job--has been offered the job by the Lions and that it will be formally announced either tomorrow or Wednesday. It had been thought that announcement might be made today.


Gary said...

Scruf, what do you think or know Hufnagel will be doing in Cowtown? If he isn't relinquishing his coaching duties I think Dickenson will be coming to Riderville.

Anonymous said...

My head is starting to hurt with all of this news. WOW!!!

Anonymous said...

If what you say is right, it means Dickenson is still out there. Does that make him the favourite to come here again seeing he won't be in BC?

Anonymous said...

Mitch, I heard you say on the Cage today that Austin will be strongly considered as the HC at Ole Miss. Unfortunatly for him they named a Head Coach this afternoon.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Why would you automatically think Austin would be interested in the Ol Miss job? Because he left Regina to go back to his old college? Did he even apply? Who knows? The Media thinks he is wanting to come back to the CFL in Hamilton.I believe he is waiting to become an NFL asst coach as his next move up or he and his family love Cornell(for now) All I suspect for sure is he will never entertain coming back to Regina to coach the Riders. Think about it. Who among you would want to go backwards in your career?

Anonymous said...

The fact that Mitch went on air yesterday and opened the show saying Austin will be given an opportunity at Ole Miss when they had hired a Head Coach early that same afternoon is pretty bad. Mistakes happen though and I forgive you Scruffy.

Mitchell Blair said...

Actually what was said was that I had read a report once it was learned Houston Nutt was leaving Ole Miss was that Austin's name had been mentioned as a possible replacement because of his ties to the school. I was not aware until yesterday that Ole Miss had signed someone. I do not know if the interest was there and was going off what I had read from a Mississippi newspaper a month ago. I'll put the words out of my mouth out there, you don't need to but thanks!

Lee-Anne said...

I always liked O'Shea as a football player. He was a clean, hard-nosed player who was a leader and had his teammates respect.
My only concern is that he is a Special Teams coach, and many don't become HCs. If he does, I hope he can surround himself with a good staff, especially on offense, where we need an OC and a QB coach. Those positions may be tough to fill.
Common sense says D.Dickenson, but something tells me that Huf will do his best to keep him with the Stamps.