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

Just Posted

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 5: Recap

Highlights and results from day 5 at the All Native Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 6: Preview

Look ahead to all the action scheduled for Feb. 16 at the All Native Tournament

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

The can’t decide the pipeline’s fate until a new round of consultations with Indigenous communities

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read