Head coach Rick Campbell hires full B.C. Lions coaching staff

The B.C. Lions have hired a full coaching staff under head coach Rick Campbell.

On offence, offensive coordinator Jordan Maksymic, offensive line coach Kelly Bates, running backs coach Beau Walker, receivers coach Jason Tucker and offensive assistant Danny O’Brien.

Defence, defensive line coach Leroy Blugh, linebackers coach Travis Brown ad Defensive backs coach Ryan Phillips. Meanwhile, Don Yanowsky will be the special teams coordinator.

Maksymic joins the Lions following a four-year stint with the Edmonton Eskimos, first as quarterbacks coach and pass game coordinator from 2016-2018 and offensive coordinator last season. He is reunited with Mike Reilly after helping the quarterback win the 2017 CFL Most Outstanding Player Award and lead the league in passing yards for three straight seasons.

Bates enters his first full season as offensive line coach after being named to the post on August 31, 2019. He played eight of his 10 seasons with the Lions and won Grey Cups with B.C. as a player in 2006 and a coach in 2011. Bates spent four seasons (2011-2014) on the Lions’ coaching staff, first as offensive assistant then as running backs coach and draft coordinator. The 44-year-old Bates also had a three-year stint as head coach at Simon Fraser University.

Walker the native of Bend, Oregon joins the Lions after four seasons with the Ottawa Redblacks. He worked as offensive assistant for his first three years before being promoted to running backs coach in 2019. Before moving to the nation’s capital, Walker spent seven seasons in various offensive roles at Oregon State University as well as a year at the University of Nebraska as an offensive assistant.

Tucker the three-time CFL all-star and two-time Grey Cup champion as a player with the Eskimos begins season No. 10 in the pro coaching ranks. He began as receivers coach in Edmonton from 2009-2010 before a three-year stint in Saskatchewan that included a Grey Cup ring in 2013. After two years on the Tennessee Titans staff, Tucker spent the 2018 season in Montreal before going back to Edmonton last season.

O’Brien the six-year veteran quarterback joins the Lions coaching staff after spending his final playing season in B.C. O’Brien will assist Maksymic and also work closely with Reilly and the other quarterbacks. As a player, O’Brien completed 100 passes on 175 attempts for 1,045 yards, three touchdowns and was a member of the 2016 Grey Cup champion Redblacks squad.

Blugh the 2015 Canadian Football Hall of Fame inductee spent the last six seasons as defensive line coach with the Redblacks where he helped transform the unit into Grey Cup champions in year three of their existence. Blugh played 15 seasons (1989-2003) in the CFL with Edmonton and Toronto. Along with winning a Grey Cup in 1993, Blugh won the CFL Most Outstanding Canadian award in 1996.

Brown takes over the Lions’ linebackers after having the same role in Edmonton the past two seasons. Brown’s players enjoyed success over that span, including Larry Dean who finished in the top five in CFL defensive tackles in 2019 while J.C. Sherritt recorded 100 defensive stops the year before. Brown’s coaching career began at his alma mater Fresno State (defensive quality control, linebackers) from 2014-2015.

Phillips returns for his second season as the Lions’ defensive backs coach. The Seattle native helped a veteran group in the defensive backfield play at a high level and improve as the season went on. In 12 seasons as a player with the Lions, he finished second all-time to Larry Crawford with 47 interceptions while earning two Grey Cup rings.

Yanowsky the veteran of nearly four decades in the coaching ranks is coming off a stint at the University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP) where he ran special teams and coached the safeties. He made his CFL coaching debut with the Calgary Stampeders (linebackers) from 2012-2013 before two seasons as special teams coordinator with Ottawa. Prior to moving north, Yanowsky spent over 20 years in US college football.

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