April 8, 2024

Wally to the Wall: Buono honoured by Stamps


CALGARY — The Calgary Stampeders announced on Monday the addition of Wally Buono as the newest member of the team’s Wall of Fame.

Instituted in 1985, the Wall of Fame recognizes the great players and important off-field contributors in Stampeders history.

The architect of one of the most dominant runs in Canadian Football League history, Buono will officially become the 50th member of the Stampeders Wall of Fame when he is honoured as part of Legacy Night at halftime of the Calgary’s July 21 home game against the BC Lions.

“We’re excited to bring back the Wall of Fame and honouring Wally is the perfect way to mark this historic occasion,” said Stampeders president Jay McNeil, a former Calgary offensive lineman who played nine seasons for Buono. “Wally was an excellent coach and general manager and his success with the Stampeders teams of the 1990s and early 2000s is an indelible chapter in the franchise’s proud history.

“The Wall of Fame is the result of a partnership between the team and the Calgary Stampeder Alumni Association and we’re grateful to the alumni for all of their work in helping preserve this wonderful tradition.”

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When Buono was handed the Calgary head-coaching reins by general manager Normie Kwong in 1990, the Stampeders hadn’t been to the Grey Cup or finished first in the West Division since 1971. Under Buono’s leadership, the Red and White finished first seven times, went to the championship game on six occasions and won three titles.

Buono, who added the general manager’s duties to his job description in 1992, coached the Stampeders for a total of 13 years and holds the Calgary franchise records for most games coached (234), most victories (153), most playoff victories (12) and most championships (three).

Nine of Buono’s assistant coaches with the Stampeders went on to become head coaches including John Hufnagel, whose return to the Calgary organization in 2008 ushered in another very successful period in the franchise’s history including three more Grey Cup titles.

Buono became the winningest coach in CFL history in 2009, when he passed Don Matthews’ previous mark of 231 (Dave Chidley/CFL.ca).

After leaving Calgary, Buono joined the BC Lions in 2003 and became that franchise’s leader in wins with 162. He became the winningest coach in CFL history on Sept. 19, 2009, as he passed Don Matthews’ previous mark of 231.

“Wally had a tremendous impact on both the Stampeders and the CFL and it’s only fitting that he takes his rightful place on the Stampeders Wall of Fame,” said Calgary general manager and head coach Dave Dickenson, who played for Buono for a combined 10 seasons with the Stamps and Lions. “Wally is a Stamps icon and this is a well-deserved honour.”

Buono has a total of seven Grey Cup rings — two as a player and five as a head coach. He was named the Annis Stukus Trophy winner as CFL coach of the year four times and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

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