Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach June Jones meets B.C. Lions head coach Wally Buono on the field following CFL Football division semifinal game in Hamilton, Ont. on Sunday, November 11, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power)

Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach June Jones meets B.C. Lions head coach Wally Buono on the field following CFL Football division semifinal game in Hamilton, Ont. on Sunday, November 11, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power)

Wally Buono exits CFL, stinging from painful playoff loss

B.C. Lions lost the Eastern semifinal to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday, 48-8

Smarting from a lopsided 48-8 playoff loss, Wally Buono found one positive as he left the field for the last time Sunday.

“The one thing I did think about as I was walking off the field (was) I wouldn’t have to have this feeling again,” said the B.C. Lions coach.

“(Losses) are lasting and they are brutal,” he added.

How long Sunday’s Eastern semifinal beatdown by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats lingers remains to be seen for the 68-year-old Buono, who is retiring after 46 years as a player, coach and GM in the league.

“That’s a good question, because they usually stay a long time,” Buono said. “I’ve always believed that if you end the season on a loss, it’s a long time before the next season. I guess the one thing I will say is I don’t have to worry about the next season so maybe it won’t last as long.”

A good thing, perhaps. The 40-point margin of victory for Hamilton was the largest in Lions playoff annals, erasing the 38 points of a 56-18 loss to Montreal in 2009.

READ MORE: ‘Losing is something I’ve never gotten used to,’ Wally Buono says

The CFL’s winningest coach said his plan was to go home, “get things wrapped up and start a new life.”

“I’ve been doing this for a lot of years. A lot of people have had the opportunity to retire. I’ve talked to a number of them and most of them are doing OK. So I figure I’m not that much different and hopefully retirement will be OK.”

Loss No. 183 — to go with 305 coaching wins and three ties in regular-season and playoff action — was a horror show.

Fumbles, missed interceptions, a pick-six, failed third-down gambles — the Lions were on the wrong end of everything Sunday. Hamilton scored on three of its first four possessions and led 28-0 at the half. It was 44-0 after three quarters.

Buono’s seven Grey Cup rings — two won as a player and five as a coach — might provide some solace when he gets home.

But he found some words of wisdom for his players after Sunday’s loss.

“The thing that I shared with the guys is this is not what we came here for, this is not what we wanted but it’s been a pleasure working with these guys, it’s been a pleasure coaching the guys.

“Life gives you lessons. I hope they learn something from this lesson.”

For Lions quarterback Travis Lulay, Sunday’s result was “just an unfortunate end to an incredible career.”

“Today obviously doesn’t define the man … Everything that Wally’s earned and all the accolades he’s won over his career and all the credit he gets for the work that he’s done, he’s deserving of it all.

Buono has ruled out a return to management, reasoning that if he did it would have to be with another organization — “and I’m not sure I have the energy or the will at this point to do all that.”

“People like me, we’ve been around a long time. Sometimes it’s good for us to just move on,” he added.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

The Site C Dam location is seen along the Peace River in Fort St. John, B.C., Tuesday, April 18, 2017. The cost of British Columbia’s Site C hydroelectric dam has grown to $16 billion and the completion has been moved up a year to 2025. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BC Liberal energy critic blasts ‘lack of transparency’ on Site C

MLA Tom Shypitka says Site C going ahead is a ‘good thing’, blames NDP for mismanagement

Volunteers from the Elk River Alliance cleared 14 car batteries from the Elk River near Elkford this week. (Photo contributed)
Elk River Alliance to move to more holistic environmental monitoring

The details of the ERA’s 2021 program will be discussed at the AGM next month

The Kitimat RCMP responded to false alarms, an apartment fire and more between Jan. 29 to Feb. 3, 2021. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Sparwood backs campaign to study Surrey RCMP impact

The City of Surrey is home to the largest RCMP detachment in the province

Brent Bidston is the president of Angel Flight East Kootenay. Black Press file photo.
RDEK ponders funding for Angel Flight East Kootenay

The district is considering funding for operations or to eventually help acquire a larger plane

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Most Read