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(Vancouver) BC Lions GM and head coach Wally Buono announced the club’s coaching staff for 2009 and for the first time in three seasons there are no changes to the lineup.
“I believe it was very important for us to maintain consistency with our coaching staff,” said Buono. “This is a talented and dynamic group of coaches with each having a unique skill set.”
Wally Buono enters his seventh season as Lions GM and head coach. Over the past six seasons, he has led the club to six playoff appearances; five consecutive appearances in the West Division Final as well as a Grey Cup Championship in 2006. In 2008, Buono added 11 victories to his club record for career wins as Lions head coach which now sits at 74.
Mike Benevides begins his second season as the team’s defensive coordinator, his seventh with the Lions and 10th CFL season overall. The 21-year coaching veteran, who has tutored players at each level of football from high school to CIS to the professional ranks and spent five seasons (‘03-’07) as the Lions’ special teams coordinator and linebackers coach before being promoted to the defensive coordinator position in 2008.
Mike Roach returns for his fifth season coaching the Lions’ defensive line. Led by CFL All-Stars Brent Johnson, Aaron Hunt, and Cameron Wake, Mike’s D-line was a key ingredient in the team’s dominating play on defence last season. As a unit, the defensive line rang-up 48 of the club’s league-leading 68 quarterback sacks in 2008.
Mark Washington begins his second season with the club as defensive backs coach after spending five seasons on the Lions roster (2003-2007). Last season, the Lions secondary led the CFL with 27 interceptions with Barron Miles sharing the CFL lead with nine and veteran halfback Korey Banks notching six.
Dan Dorazio enters his 37th year of coaching and his 12th CFL campaign – seventh with the Lions and third as offensive coordinator. Anchored by veterans Rob Murphy, Angus Reid, Kelly Bates, Jason Jimenez and Sherko Haji-Rasouli, the Lions offence ranked in the top three of 12 offensive categories in 2008.
Steff Kruck returns for his fifth season with the Lions as the club’s quarterbacks coach and continues to oversee the development of two of the CFL’s brightest stars in Buck Pierce and Jarious Jackson. Steff’s work with Lions pivots has enabled the team to start three different starting quarterbacks in the past three West Division Finals.
Jacques Chapdelaine begins his sixth season with the Lions after originally joining the club in 2003 as the team’s receivers coach. After being promoted to offensive coordinator in 2005 and leading the offence to a Grey Cup championship in 2006, Jacques moved to the Edmonton Eskimos for one season and rejoined the Lions in 2008 as receivers coach. He currently guides some of the CFL’s most gifted athletes including Lions all-time leading receiver Geroy Simon and Paris Jackson.
Chuck McMann enters his second season as the Lions’ special teams coordinator and running backs coach. Last season, McMann’s work with kick returner Ian Smart was key in the third-year Leo’s record-setting performance as he piled up a CFL-best 1,805 yards on 74 kickoff returns (24.4 avg.) including a 92-yard touchdown. Smart’s 85 punt returns for 782 yards were second only to Edmonton’s Tristan Jackson last year.
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