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VANCOUVER — With Wally Buono’s future in the balance, the BC Lions laid out their plan for the future on Thursday, announcing the hiring of Ed Hervey as their new general manager.
Buono will return to the sideline in 2018, which will mark the final season of the prolific coach/GM’s time coaching the Lions.
Hervey, a 44 year-old California native, joins the Lions after most recently serving as VP of Football Operations and GM with the Edmonton Eskimos from 2013 to 2016.
“This is a significant day for our organization and I am very pleased to welcome Ed Hervey to the BC Lions as our new GM,” said Buono, who steps down after serving in the role since 2003.
“I’ve had a great deal of respect for Ed since his days as a player,” added Buono, who, in his role of VP of Football Operations, made the hire. “His extensive work as a scout and his proven ability to build competitive and exciting teams make him a natural fit for this position and I am confident that the BC Lions will thrive under his leadership.”
Hervey spent eight seasons as a receiver for the Eskimos, winning two Grey Cups and earning two CFL All-Star nods. After hanging up the cleats, he became the team’s west coast scout in 2007 before being promoted to head scout in 2009.
In 2013, Hervey was promoted to general manager, becoming the 14th general manager in team history, later adding VP of Football Operations to his title. After winning Grey Cups as a player in 2003 and 2005, Hervey assembled the 2015 Grey Cup Champions as an executive.
“I am both honoured and proud to be joining the BC Lions Football Club and it is with sincere thanks to David Braley and Wally Buono that I take on the responsibility of bringing a Grey Cup title back to British Columbia,” said Hervey.
“Wally was very clear during our discussions that I would be working from a clean slate as it relates to player personnel and football operations staff, but my first request of him was that he remain on as head coach for the 2018 season. He is, unquestionably, the best person to lead our team on the field next year and I am very pleased he has agreed to do so. We will work together in coming days to assemble the rest of our coaching staff.”
Buono shifts entire focus to sidelines with Hervey in place upstairs
For Buono, 2018 will mark his final season with the Lions as he hands over the reins of the team to Hervey and ultimately to a future head coach. Highlighted by 120 regular season wins, 14 post-season appearances, nine division finals and a pair of Grey Cup titles in 2006 and 2011, his accomplishments with the Leos are unequaled.
“My time with the Lions has been memorable to say the least, but right now my sole focus is working with Ed to build a championship team in 2018. This past season was tremendously frustrating for all of us, but today’s announcement is the kind of change I believe our organization needs, our fans want to see and something we can build on moving forward.”
For Buono, 2018 presents one last chance to coach the Lions to another Grey Cup. Buono spent 22 years as the head coach of the Calgary Stamepders and the BC Lions. eventually becoming the CFL’s all-time winningest coach in 2009 after accumulating 232 regular season wins.
He sits in the record books with the most first-place finishes by a head coach (13), most regular-season wins by a head coach (273) and most Grey Cup wins by a head coach (five).
The 67-year-old retired in 2011 with 254 regular season wins as head coach to focus on his general manager duties. Buono wasn’t done on the sidelines, however, and came out of retirement to take over as head coach of the Lions in 2016.
In the post-season, Buono is 23-17 and has won five Grey Cups in nine appearances. As a coach, he took home Grey Cups in 1992, 1998, 2001 with the Stampeders and 2006 and 2011 with the Lions. He also won two Grey Cup as a member of the Montreal Alouettes in 1974 and 1977.
He also won the Annis Stukus Trophy four times (1992, 1993, 2006 and 2011).