December 7, 2022

Lions bring back entire coaching staff for 2023

Christian Bender/

VANCOUVER — BC Lions co-general manager/head coach Rick Campbell announced on Wednesday that the entire coaching staff has signed contract extensions for the 2023 season.

Offensive coordinator Jordan Maksymic, defensive coordinator Ryan Phillips, special teams coordinator Don Yanowsky, receivers coach Jason Tucker, offensive line coach Kelly Bates, running backs coach Trysten Dyce, linebackers coach Travis Brown, defensive line coach John Bowman and defensive assistant Tanya Henderson and video coordinator/special teams assistant Derek Oswalt will all return for 2023.

“We are excited to be retaining our coaching staff,” Campbell said. “They are good teachers and even better people. The continuity allows us to grow and improve as a coaching staff and as a football team.”

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Maksymic returns for a third season running the Lions offence after helping lead a breakout performance in 2022 that saw the Lions lead the CFL in key categories such as net offence (384.6 yards per game) and offensive points (28.3 per game). The offence also finished second in the CFL with 56 touchdowns in 2022.

Phillips is back for a 15th season in the organization, third as a member of the coaching staff, and will enter his second campaign as defensive coordinator. At 22.5 points allowed per game, the Lions’ defence was third in the CFL this past season while three of Phillips’ defensive backs – Garry Peters, Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Sayles – were voted as CFL and West Division All-Stars.

Now into his fifth decade of coaching in both the professional and college ranks, Yanowsky is back for a third season under Campbell as special teams coordinator. ‘Yano’ guided the dynamic duo of Sean Whyte and Stefan Flintoft, who helped the Lions finish tops in the league in field goal percentage (92.3) and tied for second in punting average (47.5 yards), respectively, in 2022.

2023 marks season number 15 overall for Bates with the Lions and number eight as a member of the coaching staff. The offensive line enjoyed a vast improvement in 2022, helping James Butler become the first Lion to rush for over 1,000 yards since Andrew Harris in 2015 and Nathan Rourke record a remarkable 3,970 passing yards in ten contests.

The man affectionately known as ‘Tuck’ will be back for a 12th season in the pro coaching ranks and third with the Lions. Despite missing Bryan Burnham and Lucky Whitehead for long stretches of 2022, the receiving corps was in good hands as Dominique Rhymes (1,401 yards) and Keon Hatcher (1,043 yards) both established career-highs while Whitehead eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. Rhymes was voted as a CFL and West Division All-Star.

Dyce, a former Manitoba Bison, returns for his second season with the Lions’ staff and first as running backs coach. Dyce worked with the position group in 2022 when Butler finished with the most yards from scrimmage by any running back and was second overall in rushing yards.

Brown returns for a third season guiding the club’s running backs. This season saw the emergence of Ben Hladik as a starter while Bo Lokombo, Jordan Williams and rookie Manny Rugamba made contributions at a position that also provided great depth.

Bowman, a nine-time CFL All-Star, enjoyed a solid first season in the coaching ranks as David Menard (9), Mathieu Betts (7) and Obum Gwacham (5) all racked up career-highs in sacks while the unit limited CFL-rushing leader Ka’Deem Carey to 43 yards in the Western Semi-Final victory.

Henderson was named the first full-time female coach in CFL history last March. Henderson worked closely with the linebackers in 2022 and will once again play a big role in defensive game plans and breaking down film.

Oswalt adds the role of special teams assistant to his duties after working his first season as the club’s video coordinator in 2022. Oswalt had previously worked under Campbell in video and coaching roles with the Ottawa REDBLACKS before spending 2021 with the Edmonton Elks.

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