Wally Buono

Pasquale "Wally" Buono[1][2] CM (born February 7, 1950) is the vice president of football operations, alternate governor and the former head coach of the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League (CFL), and one of the most successful head coaches in league history. He has spent 22 years as head coach of the Calgary Stampeders and the Lions, which is tied for the most seasons coached all-time. On September 19, 2009, Buono became the CFL's all-time winningest coach when his Lions beat the Toronto Argonauts 23–17, giving him 232 regular-season victories, passing Don Matthews.[3] He retired in 2011 with a CFL record 254 regular-season wins as head coach, to focus on duties as general manager for the Lions. In 2016, Buono came out of retirement to coach the Lions again through the 2018 season. In the final home game of the 2018 season, Buono was honored with the Bob Ackles Award as he was retiring from football with the most wins as a coach.

Wally Buono CM
BC Lions
BC Lions GM Wally Buono
Born: (1950-02-07) February 7, 1950
Potenza, Italy
Career information
Position(s)General manager
Head Coach
CollegeIdaho State University
Career history
As administrator
19922002Calgary Stampeders (GM)
20032017BC Lions (GM)
As coach
1983Montreal Concordes (AC)
19871989Calgary Stampeders (AC)
19902002Calgary Stampeders (HC)
20032011, 2016–2018BC Lions (HC)
As player
19721981Montreal Alouettes
Career highlights and awards
AwardsAnnis Stukus Trophy (1992, 1993, 2006, 2011)
Honours7x Grey Cup champion – (1974, 1977, 1992, 1998, 2001, 2006, 2011)
RecordsMost regular-season wins by a head coach (282), most first-place finishes by a head coach (13), most Grey Cup wins by a head coach (5)
Career stats

Buono's post-season coaching record is 23–17, with five Grey Cup victories in nine appearances. He won the Grey Cup championship in 1992, 1998 and 2001 as head coach of the Stampeders and in 2006 and 2011 as head coach of the Lions. He won the Annis Stukus Trophy as the CFL's Coach of the Year four times, in 1992, 1993, 2006, and 2011, second only to Don Matthews, who had five.[4][5]

Early years and playing career

Born in Potenza, Italy in 1950, Buono moved to Canada in 1953 with his family. He became interested in football after playing pick up games as a youth in Montréal-Nord, Quebec. Soon after, he began playing minor football in Montreal, Quebec.

Buono attended Idaho State University and was a linebacker for the ISU Bengals. He returned to Canada and played 10 seasons with the Montreal Alouettes as a linebacker and punter, appearing in 152 games. He appeared in five Grey Cups between 1972 and 1981, winning two in '74 and '77.

Coaching career

Calgary Stampeders

Shortly after his retirement, Buono landed an assistant coaching position with the Montreal Concordes (which the Alouettes had been renamed following a bankruptcy and an ownership change) in 1983. In 1987, he moved to Calgary and worked with the Calgary Stampeders under Larry Kuharich until 1990, when he was hired as head coach by Stampeders president Norman Kwong.

Buono served as head coach of the Stampeders for thirteen years (1990–2002), amassing a regular season record of 153–79–2, far and away the most wins in Stampeders history. He led the Stampeders to eight first-place finishes, including five straight from 1992 to 1996, and missing the playoffs only once, in 2002. The Stampeders went to six Grey Cup games under Buono, winning three in 1992, 1998, and 2001, and losing three in 1991, 1995, 1999. He left the franchise as its winningest coach in terms of victories and championships, allegedly only leaving because the Stampeders attempted to force him to play Kevin Feterik, the owner's son, as the starting quarterback, a charge both the Feteriks denied.[6]

BC Lions

Buono left the Stampeders in 2003 and was hired as head coach and general manager of the BC Lions prior to the 2003 season. In the first five seasons under Buono (2003–2007), the Lions went 62–27–1 in regular-season play, with five straight playoff appearances, four straight first-place finishes (2004–2007), and two Grey Cup appearances: a 27-19 loss to the Toronto Argonauts in 2004 and a 25-14 victory over the Montreal Alouettes in 2006. His teams went through a slight downturn for the following three seasons, including two that were under .500. His team returned to prominence in 2011 after they once again finished first in the west division and followed it with a 34-23 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 99th Grey Cup at home.

He announced his resignation as head coach of the Lions on December 5, 2011 to focus on his duties as general manager.[7]

In 2014, he was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

From 2012 through the 2015 CFL season the Lions failed to win any playoff games, despite making the playoffs all four seasons. On December 2, 2015, the Lions announced that Buono would resume his position as head coach for the 2016 CFL season after head coach Jeff Tedford announced his resignation following a disappointing 7-11 season.[8] On March 2, 2016, the Lions announced that they had extended Wally Buono's contract (as a head-coach/GM) through the 2017 CFL season.[9]

Following the 2017 season, Buono announced he was relinquishing the General Manager position in order to focus on his head coaching duties. Ed Hervey was hired as the new GM of the Lions. Buono retains his position as the Vice President of Football Operations. Buono also stated that 2018 will be his final year as head coach.[10] With 129 wins over two stints, he is the winningest coach in Lions history, and one of the few coaches to top the all-time wins list with two CFL teams.


Buono is often credited with developing some of the best CFL quarterbacks of his era, such as Doug Flutie, Jeff Garcia, Dave Dickenson, Travis Lulay and Jonathon Jennings. He is known as one of the best offensive minds in league history.

CFL coaching record

TeamYearRegular seasonPostseason
WonLostTiesWin %FinishWonLostResult
CGY1990 1161.6391st in West Division01Lost in Division Finals
CGY1991 1170.6112nd in West Division21Lost in Grey Cup
CGY1992 1350.7221st in West Division20Won Grey Cup
CGY1993 1530.8331st in West Division11Lost in Division Finals
CGY1994 1530.8331st in West Division11Lost in Division Finals
CGY1995 1530.8331st in North Division21Lost in Grey Cup
CGY1996 1350.7221st in West Division01Lost in Division Finals
CGY1997 1080.5562nd in West Division01Lost in Division Semi-Finals
CGY1998 1260.6671st in West Division20Won Grey Cup
CGY1999 1260.6672nd in West Division21Lost in Grey Cup
CGY2000 1251.6941st in West Division01Lost in Division Finals
CGY2001 8100.4442nd in West Division30Won Grey Cup
CGY2002 6120.3335th in West Division
CGY Total 153792.6598 West Division
1593 Grey Cups
BC2003 1170.6114th in West Division01Lost in Division Semi-Finals
BC2004 1350.7221st in West Division11Lost in Grey Cup
BC2005 1260.6671st in West Division01Lost in Division Finals
BC2006 1350.7221st in West Division20Won Grey Cup
BC2007 1431.8061st in West Division01Lost in Division Finals
BC2008 1170.6113rd in West Division11Lost in Division Finals
BC2009 8100.4444th in West Division11Lost in Division Finals
BC2010 8100.4443rd in West Division01Lost in Division Semi-Finals
BC2011 1170.6111st in West Division20Won Grey Cup
BC2016 1260.6672nd in West Division11Lost in Division Final
BC2017 7110.3895th in West Division
BC2018 990.5004th in West Division01Lost in Division Semi-Finals
BC Total 129861.6005 West Division
892 Grey Cups
Total 2821653.63013 West Division
23185 Grey Cups

Wally Buono Award

The Wally Buono Award was established in 2003 by The Saint Bernard Pass Charitable Foundation for the purpose of recognizing Canada's top junior football player. The award is a national award.[11] Recipients must prove their athletic and leadership ability on the field as well as a high level of leadership within their community. The Saint Bernard Pass Charitable Foundation is the Swiss-based foundation of Christina Saint Marche. The winners of the award are as follows:

  • 2014 – LB Dylan Chapdelaine, Vancouver Island Raiders (BCFC/CJFL)[12]
  • 2013 – QB Asher Hastings, Regina Thunder (PCF/CJFL)
  • 2012 – QB Jordan Yantz, Vancouver Island Raiders (BCFC/CJFL)
  • 2011 – SB Michael Schaper, Vancouver Island Raiders (BCFC/CJFL)[13]
  • 2010 – DL Kleevens Jean-Louis, Châteauguay Raiders (QJFL)[14]
  • 2009 – RB Andrew Harris, Vancouver Island Raiders (BCFC/CJFL)[15]
  • 2008 – WR Cassidy Doneff, Calgary Colts (PFC/CJFL)[16]
  • 2007 – RB Tristan Jones, Edmonton Wildcats (PFC/CJFL)[17]
  • 2006 – QB Nate Friesen, Winnipeg Rifles (PFC/CJFL)[18]
  • 2005 – RB Jeff Halvorson, Posthumous, Okanagan Sun (BCFC/CJFL)[19]
  • 2004 – RB Chris Ciezki, Edmonton Huskies (PFC/CJFL)[20]
  • 2003 – RB Alan Giacalone, Calgary Colts (PFC/CJFL)[21]

See also


  1. http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Columnists/Simmons/2004/11/18/720112.html
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-09-05. Retrieved 2011-07-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. "Wally's World: Buono becomes all-time leader in coaching wins". TSN.ca. 2009-09-20. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
  4. The Canadian Press (2007-02-13). "Buono named CFL's coach of the year". TSN.ca. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
  5. "Wally Buono named 2011 Coach of the Year". Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2017-09-17.
  6. "Family business". Deseret News. July 6, 2003. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-01-14. Retrieved 2011-12-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. "Wally Buono back as Lions coach after Jeff Tedford resigns". www.cbc.ca. Retrieved 2015-12-03.
  9. Press, The Canadian. "Wally Buono signs contract extension with B.C. Lions". Ottawa Sun. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
  10. "Lions name Hervey GM; Buono to coach last season in 2018". CFL.ca. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  11. http://www.slillegard.com/buono/
  12. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-25. Retrieved 2015-05-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. http://bclions.com/article/michael-schaper-receives-2011-wally-buono-award%5B%5D
  14. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-06. Retrieved 2011-10-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. "Andrew Harris Claims 2009 Wally Buono Award". bclions.com. BC Lions. November 4, 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  16. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-17. Retrieved 2011-10-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. http://www.13thman.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=32045
  18. http://www.universitysport.ca/e/story_detail0605.cfm?id=7439%5B%5D
  19. http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/wally-buono-marv-levy-vince-lombardi-jr-visit-montreal-the-late-jeff-halvorson-be-honoured-538918.htm
  20. http://www.sherwoodparknews.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?archive=true&e=1876062%5B%5D
  21. http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Football/CFL/Calgary/2006/06/08/1620687-sun.html
Preceded by
Adam Rita
Don Matthews
Steve Buratto
Danny Maciocia
Marc Trestman
Grey Cup winning Head Coach
80th Grey Cup, 1992
86th Grey Cup, 1998
89th Grey Cup, 2001
94th Grey Cup, 2006
99th Grey Cup, 2011
Succeeded by
Ron Lancaster
Ron Lancaster
Don Matthews
Kent Austin
Scott Milanovich
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