Mike Benevides enters his third season as head coach of the BC Lions, his 15th CFL season overall and 11th campaign as a member of the Lions coaching staff. Mike comes off another successful campaign leading the Lions to an 11-7 regular season record, including a notable 8-1 mark at home which equaled the club mark he established a year earlier as well as a berth in the 2013 Western Semi-Final.
Establishing an incredible16-2 mark at home over the past two seasons and a 24-12 mark overall, Mike guided the club to its 17th consecutive playoff spot in 2013 despite the absence of his starting quarterback for seven regular season games.
Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Benevides has tutored players at each level of football from high school to CIS to the professional ranks. He spent five seasons (‘03-’07) as the Lions’ special teams coordinator and linebackers coach before being promoted to the defensive coordinator position in 2008. Following the Lions’ 2011 Grey Cup win and subsequent retiring of head coach Wally Buono, Mike was named the club’s 24th head coach in December that year.
Benevides originally joined the Lions in 2003 moving over from the Calgary Stampeders where he started as a defensive assistant in 2000 before being promoted to special teams coordinator and coaching the linebackers during the 2001 and 2002 seasons. He also took on the role of Calgary’s director of Canadian scouting. In 2001, Benevides won his first Grey Cup as a member of the Stampeders’ staff.
Mike, along with player personnel coordinator Neil McEvoy and draft coordinator Kelly Bates, also takes a lead role in scouting for the annual CFL Canadian Draft and has been lauded by many as one of the league’s best evaluators of Canadian football talent. Under Mike’s leadership, the Lions have added at least two players in each of the past six seasons who have become starters or have played significant roles in the CFL, including Matt Norman, Jabar Westerman, Jon Hameister-Ries, Dean Valli, Rolly Lumbala, Jason Arakgi, Shawn Gore, Akeem Foster and Marco Iannuzzi.
Prior to beginning his coaching career, Benevides attended Bakersfield College in California on an athletic scholarship and played nosetackle on the school’s 1988 national championship team. After Bakersfield, Benevides attended York University in Toronto where his studies included Business Management and Marketing.
Mike and his family reside year-round in the Lower Mainland.