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VANCOUVER — Rick Campbell was officially named the head coach of the BC Lions on Monday afternoon.
Campbell, who will also serve as the team’s defensive coordinator, takes over the reins of the Leos after serving as head coach of the Ottawa REDBLACKS from 2014 to 2019. In that time, the 48-year-old native of Spokane, Washington transformed the expansion club into an East Division power that enjoyed three trips to the Grey Cup in 2015, 2016 and 2018; taking home the title in an overtime win over Calgary in 2016.
“When we examined all of the qualities we wanted in a coach to lead the BC Lions, there is no doubt that Rick checks off every box,” said GM Ed Hervey. “His extensive coaching experience and past success combined with the universal respect he has earned from players and coaches across our league make him the best candidate for this position by quite a wide margin.”
Campbell left the Ottawa REDBLACKS as the only head coach in franchise history as he and the team parted ways on Nov 4. While his biggest success was leading the club to its first Grey Cup championship in 40 years, Campbell also coached the REDBLACKS to two other appearances in the championship game, the first coming in just the club’s second year of existence.
The REDBLACKS’ success under Campbell included transforming a 2-16 expansion team in 2014 into Grey Cup finalists the next year through key free agent signings and the emergence of young prospects. The following year, the REDBLACKS would go on to win it all.
Campbell left the nation’s capital with a record of 44-62-2, three Grey Cup appearances and a playoff berth in all but two seasons.
“I am both grateful and elated to be coming to Vancouver for this incredible opportunity,” said Campbell. “This is a roster brimming with talent and a ton of untapped potential, and I can’t wait to get started with Ed on building a champion for fans of the Lions.”
The 2019 campaign was a frustrating one for Campbell and his squad, winning just three games and struggling to find an answer at quarterback following the departure of Trevor Harris during free agency last winter.
Prior to taking his first head coaching gig in December 2013, Campbell spent most his career as a defensive and special teams coordinator with Calgary and Edmonton. While spending 11 seasons as an assistant with the Eskimos, Campbell won a pair of Grey Cups in 2003 and 2005.
The Lions also struggled to find their footing in 2019, finishing the season last place in the West Division with a 5-13 record. The team had been on the hunt for a new bench boss after the team dismissed DeVone Claybrooks in early November.