December 11, 2023

Lions bring back entire coaching staff for 2024

Jimmy Jeong/

VANCOUVER — BC Lions co-general manager/head coach Rick Campbell announced on Monday that his entire coaching staff will return for the 2024 season. In addition, Campbell announced that defensive coordinator Ryan Phillips will also take on the role of assistant head coach.

“We are thrilled to retain our coaching staff. It’s a big step in our process of getting ready for 2024,” said Campbell.

“This is a group of great teachers and quality people. The continuity allows us to evolve and grow as a team and to be prepared for the exciting season ahead.”

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In 2023, Campbell led the Lions to their second consecutive 12-win season and Western Final appearance (The Canadian Press)

The Lions’ 2024 coaching staff consists of: co-general manager/head coach Rick Campbell, defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Ryan Phillips, offensive coordinator Jordan Maksymic, special teams coordinator Mike Benevides, defensive line coach John Bowman, linebackers coach Travis Brown, assistant defensive backs coach Tanya Henderson, receivers coach Jason Tucker, offensive line coach Kelly Bates, running backs coach Trysten Dyce and special teams assistant/video coordinator Derek Oswalt.

Campbell has amassed a regular season record of 29-21-0 over three seasons at the helm and enters 2024 three wins shy of Dave Ritchie for sixth on the franchise’s all-time list and four behind Mike Benevides for fifth spot.

Maksymic enters his fourth season guiding the Lions’ offence following another successful campaign where Vernon Adams Jr. emerged as the CFL’s leader with 4,769 passing yards. The Lions’ offence also finished in the top three of several major categories including net yards, points scored, touchdowns, and first downs.

Phillips is the current coaching staff’s longest-serving member and returns for a fifth season and his third as defensive coordinator. He also adds the title of assistant head coach to his resume. Along with becoming the first CFL defence to record two shutouts in the same year since the 1970 Calgary Stampeders, R.P.’s unit also enjoyed a stretch of nearly 12 straight quarters without allowing a touchdown during their early-season dominance.

Benevides re-joined the organization last May to guide the special teams unit. Under Bene’s watch, Sean Whyte emerged as a CFL All-Star and Western nominee for Most Outstanding Special Teams Player. The Lions also led the CFL with four blocked kicks and allowed only seven big play returns, tied with Hamilton for the fewest amount in the league.

Brown is another mainstay on the staff entering year four in the Den. Brown’s linebackers made big strides this past season as Ben Hladik became the first Lion and only the fourth across CFL history to surpass 100 defensive tackles in a season. Bo Lokombo would also establish a new career-high 75 defensive tackles while Josh Woods developed into a starting role, racking up a new career-high 45 tackles.

Bowman — the 2023 Canadian Football Hall of Fame inductee — is back for a third season guiding the defensive line. This past season saw Mathieu Betts break the single-season Canadian sack record (18) and win CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player. In addition, Lion opponents averaged 99.3 rushing yards per game, fourth-lowest total across the CFL.

Henderson adds the role of assistant defensive backs coach following two seasons of working closely in all aspects of the defensive drills and game plans. Henderson made history in 2021 by becoming the CFL’s first-ever female full-time coach.

Tucker once again led a dynamic group of playmakers in 2023 as both Keon Hatcher and Alexander Hollins eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark. A West Division and CFL All-Star, Hatcher’s 1,226 yards were second in the CFL behind Hamilton’s Tim White. Under Tucker’s guidance, Jevon Cottoy (807) and Justin McInnis (690) also established new career-high yard totals.

Bates, a two-time Lions Grey Cup champion enters his 16th season with the organization after leading an improved offensive line unit in 2023. Along with helping the offence finish in the top three of most of those major categories, the o-line won the CFL’s weekly Honour Roll powered by Pro Football Focus on four occasions. In his first full season as starting left tackle, Jarell Broxton earned a team nomination for CFL Most Outstanding Lineman.

Dyce returns for his fourth season on the Lions’ staff and third coaching the team’s running backs. The 2023 season saw Taquan Mizzell record over 1,000 yards from scrimmage plus the development of Shaun Shivers and Jaquan Hardy who both earned stints on the active roster at various points of the season.

Oswalt added the role of special teams assistant to his video coordinator duties in 2023 and will once again be instrumental in game planning and working alongside Benevides.

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