Lions’ GM Ed Hervey fought to keep DeVone Claybrooks as head coach, but David Braley decided different

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

B.C. Lions owner David Braley used his ultimate decision-making power to fire former head coach DeVone Claybrooks.

The Lions relieved Claybrooks of his head coaching duties in November following a 5-13 record during his first year as a CFL bench boss. General manager Ed Hervey wanted to retain Claybrooks, but he was overruled.

“I was told by my boss, Ed, that he did everything he can to fight to get us another year but at the end of the day the owner (David Braley) decided on a different direction,” Claybrooks told Postmedia reporter Dan Barnes.

“Like I’ve said a number of times, when your name is on the front of the cheque, you can dictate what happens to the guy who signs the back of the cheque.”

B.C. finished last and were the only team without a playoff spot in the West Division. Claybrooks signed a three-year deal through the 2021 season in December 2018. That means Braley will be paying the 42-year-old not to coach for two seasons.

“I have no ill will toward anybody in B.C. I think it’s a great organization. I love the players that I had. I still talk to them,” Claybrooks said.

Claybrooks orchestrated the stingiest defence in the CFL during the 2018 season, a key part of the Calgary Stampeders’ Grey Cup championship team. When Claybrooks was elevated to defensive coordinator in Cowtown the Stamps were difficult to score points against. However, B.C. allowed the most points in the West Division a year ago (452).

“I know for a fact when I look at myself in the mirror, I’m a hell of a football coach,” Claybrooks said. “I know that my peers respect me because I’ve gotten phone calls from somebody on pretty much every team in this league, who wants to see what I’m doing.”