Monday, November 6, 2017
BUONO: LIONS WON'T BE SOLD
SURREY, B.C. - Wally Buono was asked to repeat his answer a second time, just so it was crystal clear.
While discussing his own future with the B.C. Lions following a miserable campaign that started with sky-high expectations, the legendary head coach and general manager offered a surprising and unsolicited detail - David Braley plans to continue owning the team for the entirety of next season.
"I'll say it again,'' Buono told reporters Monday at the Lions' suburban practice facility as players cleaned out their lockers. "He's going to own the club for 2018.''
The definitive news regarding Braley, who bought the bankrupt franchise in 1996, came as a surprise.
It's no secret the 76-year-old has been looking to sell, even saying as much in an interview posted on the Lions' website back in the spring.
The "for sale'' sign remains in the window, but as it stands Braley will be in control until at least the end of next season for a club that has seen a sharp decline in attendance over the last few years.
"David's very candid about the fact he will the owner in 2018,'' said Buono. "That's something that needs to be definite. We need to have definite direction.
"It applies with David, with the business part of the organization and the football part of the organization.''
Buono added his status will also be determined in the near future.
"We need to address that very quickly,'' said the 67-year-old, who has been with the B.C. since 2003. "I need to sit down with the coaches to just give them some clarity on where we're at.
"Then the process will start with David.''
The CFL's all-time leader in coaching wins, Buono returned to the sidelines in 2016 at Braley's request, leading the Lions to a 12-6 record and a playoff victory.
But things fell apart this season in a 7-11 campaign that saw B.C. miss the playoffs for the first time since 1996.
Buono said Monday he isn't sure how things will play out, even if Braley does want him back in some capacity.
"I am conflicted, and I should be.''