Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach June Jones meets B.C. Lions head coach Wally Buono on the field following CFL Football division semifinal game in Hamilton, Ont. on Sunday, November 11, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power)

Wally Buono exits CFL, stinging from painful playoff loss

B.C. Lions lost the Eastern semifinal to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday, 48-8

Smarting from a lopsided 48-8 playoff loss, Wally Buono found one positive as he left the field for the last time Sunday.

“The one thing I did think about as I was walking off the field (was) I wouldn’t have to have this feeling again,” said the B.C. Lions coach.

“(Losses) are lasting and they are brutal,” he added.

How long Sunday’s Eastern semifinal beatdown by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats lingers remains to be seen for the 68-year-old Buono, who is retiring after 46 years as a player, coach and GM in the league.

“That’s a good question, because they usually stay a long time,” Buono said. “I’ve always believed that if you end the season on a loss, it’s a long time before the next season. I guess the one thing I will say is I don’t have to worry about the next season so maybe it won’t last as long.”

A good thing, perhaps. The 40-point margin of victory for Hamilton was the largest in Lions playoff annals, erasing the 38 points of a 56-18 loss to Montreal in 2009.

READ MORE: ‘Losing is something I’ve never gotten used to,’ Wally Buono says

The CFL’s winningest coach said his plan was to go home, “get things wrapped up and start a new life.”

“I’ve been doing this for a lot of years. A lot of people have had the opportunity to retire. I’ve talked to a number of them and most of them are doing OK. So I figure I’m not that much different and hopefully retirement will be OK.”

Loss No. 183 — to go with 305 coaching wins and three ties in regular-season and playoff action — was a horror show.

Fumbles, missed interceptions, a pick-six, failed third-down gambles — the Lions were on the wrong end of everything Sunday. Hamilton scored on three of its first four possessions and led 28-0 at the half. It was 44-0 after three quarters.

Buono’s seven Grey Cup rings — two won as a player and five as a coach — might provide some solace when he gets home.

But he found some words of wisdom for his players after Sunday’s loss.

“The thing that I shared with the guys is this is not what we came here for, this is not what we wanted but it’s been a pleasure working with these guys, it’s been a pleasure coaching the guys.

“Life gives you lessons. I hope they learn something from this lesson.”

For Lions quarterback Travis Lulay, Sunday’s result was “just an unfortunate end to an incredible career.”

“Today obviously doesn’t define the man … Everything that Wally’s earned and all the accolades he’s won over his career and all the credit he gets for the work that he’s done, he’s deserving of it all.

Buono has ruled out a return to management, reasoning that if he did it would have to be with another organization — “and I’m not sure I have the energy or the will at this point to do all that.”

“People like me, we’ve been around a long time. Sometimes it’s good for us to just move on,” he added.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

South Surrey couple donates $250K to students in honour of late son

Joseph Chung Scholarship Fund helps out 100 post-secondary students

Surrey RCMP investigate report of explosion at home

‘Emotionally elevated’ person taken ‘safely’ into custody: police

Surrey tells Uber to cease operations in city, but company ‘respectfully’ declines

Ridesharing company told to stop operating within the city by 9 p.m. Jan. 24

Plans for apartments on Strawberry Hill shopping site coming to Surrey council

It would be near the library, and include 123 rental units

Man killed in fall from 3 Civic Plaza balcony in Surrey

Heavy emergency services presence in plaza at the skyscraper, at 13475 Central Ave.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

Coronavirus concerns cause cancellation of Langley Lunar New Year celebration

Close to 1,000 were expected to attend the annual Live In Langley event on Saturday

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Most Read