Rogério Barbosa – Courtesy Montreal Alouettes
“It’s special coming back,” said Buono. “Obviously there are a lot of emotions with that just like there was for me in 2001 when we came here to play in the Grey Cup.”
[Note: Buono’s Stampeders beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Olympic Stadium.]
“I think any time you’re brought back to your home town and you are being recognized for accomplishments, there’s a tremendous sense of pride but there’s also a tremendous sense of satisfaction because you started here and hopefully what you accomplished encourages other young men to do things.”
Buono, who is still involved in football as the general manager and vice president of football operations with the B.C. Lions said that he was surprised when he got the call from the commissioner Mark Cohon who called the inductees.
“I was a little bit taken aback,” Buono said. “I always thought that something like this would come when you were retired. Now that you’re here and you put your jacket on all of it starts to sink in.”
Buono, who has won more games as a coach in the Canadian Football League than anyone else, had trouble pointing out one game or one event above all others.
“There was our first win in the West Final in Edmonton in 1991, our Grey Cup win in 1992, coming back to Montreal in 2001, the satisfaction in 2006 when you were brought to BC and winning a championship there and then to culminate it in 2011 with such a tremendous comeback and winning it at home,” he said. “There’s a lot of things to be happy about.”
The comeback that Buono is talking about is that in 2011, the Lions were 0-5 but rallied to finish in first place. It was Buono’s last season as head coach.