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The BC Lions football club is sad to learn of the passing of our former head coach Don Matthews, after a lengthy illness.
Hired by the late Bob Ackles to turn the franchise around in 1983, Matthews brought instant credibility to a club looking to snap a nearly two-decade long Grey Cup drought.
After falling to the Toronto Argonauts in the Grey Cup game in his first season, the Lions won their second title in 1985, beating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 37-24.
“When you think of Don you think of a guy that brought out the best in people and did a tremendous job of always going to an organization and turning it into a champion,” said Lions’ VP/GM/head coach Wally Buono.
“I always felt Don was the best coach in the CFL and I had a tremendous amount of respect for him. We were good friends and I know he fought a good fight.”
Matthews went on to win Grey Cups with the Toronto Argonauts, Montreal Alouettes and Baltimore Stallions and was the CFL’s all-time leader in coaching wins before Wally Buono broke that record in 2008.
He was 77 years old.