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Buono named CFL Coach of the Year

Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - Former British Columbia Lions bench boss Wally Buono was named the Canadian Football League's Coach of the Year for 2011 on Friday.

Buono stepped down as head coach in December after leading the Lions to a 34-23 victory over the Blue Bombers in the 99th Grey Cup game at BC Place in Vancouver.

The Lions began the 2011 campaign with five consecutive losses before winning 11 of their last 13 regular season games to capture first place in the Western Division. They followed with a 40-23 win over the Edmonton Eskimos in the Western Final.

"It's fitting that as we prepare to celebrate the 100th Grey Cup, we bestow this honor on a true leader who has long epitomized what is best about our league," said CFL commissioner Mark Cohon. "Wally Buono's resume as a head coach ensures he will be remembered alongside the legendary names in CFL history - and 2011 may have been the pinnacle of his storied career."

Buono received 45 first place votes conducted among 56 voting members of the Football Reporters of Canada to capture his fourth Annis Stukus trophy. He will remain with British Columbia as vice president of football operations and maintain his role as general manager.

Other nominees for the award included Paul LaPolice of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Kavis Reed of the Edmonton Eskimos.

03/02 15:24:18 ET


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