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Lions to add Buono, Waterboys founders to their Wall of Fame

Wally Buono BC Lions Wally Buono - The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — Wally Buono, the CFL's all-time leader in coaching wins, and Waterboys founders Dennis Skulsky, Moray Keith, Jamie Pitblado and Tom Malone will be added to the B.C. Lions Wall of Fame this summer.

In a statement, the Lions said the inductions will be made Aug. 12 when the Lions host the Calgary Stampeders.

"Being recognized is always about the people around you," Buono said. "I was blessed with great ownership, a great staff and many, many great players in my 16 seasons with the club.

"The fan support was also a great difference maker, especially at B.C. Place."

Skulsky also served as Lions president from 2010 to 2016.

"This is a special honour and it’s really about more people than just us founders of The Waterboys," he said.

Buono joined the Lions in 2003 following 13 seasons with the Calgary Stampeders. He served as both B.C.'s head coach and GM, compiling a 129-86 regular-season record and guiding the franchise to Grey Cup victories in 2006 and 2011.

Buono stepped away from coaching following the 2011 season to concentrate on his duties as GM but returned to the sidelines in time for the 2016 campaign. Buono relinquished his GM role following the '17 campaign and 2018 was his final year with the franchise.

Over his tenure as a CFL head coach, Buono amassed a 282-165-3 regular-season record and won five Grey Cups. He's the league leader in coaching victories and is tied with Don Matthews, Hugh Campbell, Lew Hayman and Frank Clair for the most championship wins by a head coach.

Upon his return as Lions president in 2002, Bob Ackles created The Waterboys, a group consisting of several B.C. business leaders who engaged in building the Lions brand in the corporate community.

The Waterboys were honoured by the CFL with the 2005 Commissioner’s Award, presented annually to the person or group that makes a significant contribution to Canadian football.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 30, 2023.