NW Sports Beat: Making a Case for Wally Buono

1 Nov

Hot Hot Hot!

Wally Buono has done a lot of winning in his time as a CFL coach.

During his time with  the Calgary Stampeders he led them to eight division titles in twelve years, winning the Grey Cup three times. As the head coach of the BC Lions, he’s won four division titles in eight years, and likely will pick up a fifth this season.

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The Lions have only hoisted the Grey Cup one time during his tenor, but look to be the favorites this postseason.

During his 22 years as a coach in the CFL, Buono has been awarded coach of the year honors three times, the last being 2006 when the Lions won the Grey Cup. However, whether or not the Lions win the Grey Cup this year, Buono should win the coach of the year award.

Many people might argue that an 0-5 start disqualifies him from the coach of the year race, but I beg to differ.

The 0-5 start was certainly a catastrophe, but it is nowhere near as bad as the current win streak has been brilliant.

The Lions are currently the hottest team in the CFL and will carry that momentum into the playoffs.

Different players come through during different stages of each game, but the one common denominator is Buono’s steady hand doing what needs to be done for this team to win. He trusts his players and puts them into situations where they can succeed.

In return, his players trust his judgement and work their hardest to earn success.

Buono endured criticism early in the season but managed the weather the storm.

When fans were calling for his head he responded by working harder and figuring out ways to make his team perform. And from an 0-5 start the Lions now control their destiny and have a chance to win the Grey Cup at home.

Even if they don’t succeed, Buono turned a team that everyone had written off into not just a contender, but the favorite.

The biggest problem with Buono’s coaching brilliance is that most people have come to take it for granted. You can see this in other sports as well.

In the NBA Phil Jackson has won 11 titles but only one COY award. People always assumed that Jackson-coached squads would be successful.

The same is true of Buono in the CFL. If Buono doesn’t win the coach of the year award this year, that will be why.

And it would be a shame, cause this year more than any other, he deserves recognition.

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