The BC Lions have their man.
Former Calgary Stampeders defensive coordinator DeVone Claybrooks has been named the new head coach of the BC Lions, taking over from the now retired Wally Buono.
This is Claybrooks’ first head coaching opportunity, after serving on the Stampeders’ coaching staff for the past seven years. Calgary has been head of the class in the CFL in each of the past three seasons with Claybrooks in charge of their defence, making to three straight Grey Cup games.
“DeVone has been on the coaching radar of many teams for the past number of years and I believe he is the very best candidate to lead our team,” said Lions GM Ed Hervey in a media release. “After hours of meetings and discussions I know he is the perfect coach to usher in what is going to be a new era of success here in British Columbia.”
Claybrooks is coming off a Grey Cup championship with the Stamps, with his defence holding down top spot in 10 of 20 critical defensive categories tracked by the league.
“I am honoured and grateful for the opportunity given to me today by Mr. David Braley, Rick LeLacheur, and Ed Hervey,” said Claybrooks. “After meeting with Ed for a long period of time over the past number of days, I am beyond excited at the chance to lead a BC Lions coaching staff with the number one priority of winning a Grey Cup championship.”
“I am also tremendously thankful to both John Hufnagel and Dave Dickenson of the Calgary Stampeders who gave me a chance to coach soon after my playing days ended. Their faith in my ability has led me to where I am today.”
The 41-year-old was a defensive lineman during his playing days, making a number of stops in the NFL from 2001 to 2005, winning a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002 before joining the Montreal Alouettes in 2007.
Claybrooks finished his playing career with the Stampeders, joining the team’s coaching staff upon his retirement.
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A pair of former CFL All-Stars, Nik Lewis and Bryan Chiu, are also expected to join the Lions’ coaching staff. Both players were teammates of Claybrooks when he was a player.
With Hervey and Claybrooks at the helm, this is a changing of the guard for the Lions. With just one winning season in the past five years, including missing the playoffs in 2017 and blowout playoff losses to end their seasons in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018, the team needs a new direction.
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