B.C. Lions retain entire coaching staff for 2023

Photo courtesy: David Friedrich/B.C. Lions

The B.C. Lions have retained their entire coach staff for next season, the club announced on Wednesday.

Those returning for 2023 include offensive coordinator Jordan Maksymic, defensive coordinator Ryan Phillips, special teams coordinator Don Yanowsky, receivers coach Jason Tucker, offensive line coach Kelly Bates, running backs coach Trysten Dyce, linebackers coach Travis Brown, defensive line coach John Bowman, defensive assistant Tanya Henderson, and video coordinator/special teams assistant Derek Oswalt.

“We are excited to be retaining our coaching staff,” said head coach and co-general manager Rick Campbell in a statement. “They are good teachers and even better people. The continuity allows us to grow and improve as a coaching staff and as a football team.”

Maksymic has been the club’s offensive coordinator for the past two seasons and helped the unit reach new heights this past year, leading the league in net offence (384.6 yards per game) and offensive points (28.3 per game). The offence also finished second league-wide with 56 touchdowns in 2022.

Phillips has been with the Lions for 15 years dating back to his playing career and just completed his first season as defensive coordinator. The Lions’ defence finished third in the CFL this past season with an average of 22.5 points allowed per game. Three defensive backs, Garry Peters, Loucheiz Purifoy, and Marcus Sayles, were named league all-stars.

Yanowsky is will be back for a third season as B.C.’s special teams coordinator. He guided a unit that finished atop in the league in field goal percentage (92.3) and fourth in net punting average (37.6 yards). The Lions also finished eighth in opponent punt return average (11.8 yards) and ninth in opponent kickoff return average (23.9 yards).

Bates helped the offensive line improve dramatically in 2022, allowing 39 sacks to rank fifth league-wide. The unit helped James Butler become the club’s first player to run for 1,000 yards since Andrew Harris did so in 2015.

Tucker helped Dominique Rhymes and Keon Hatcher establish new career-highs with 1,401 and 1,043 receiving yards, respectively. Lucky Whitehead also eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career despite missing three games due to injury.

Dyce has been named the club’s running backs coach after previously holding the title of offensive assistant. The former Manitoba Bisons’ receiver worked with the running backs this past year when Butler tied the league lead for yards from scrimmage.

Brown is going into his third season coaching the club’s linebackers. UBC product Ben Hladik had a breakout season at middle linebacker, making 59 defensive tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, and one forced fumble.

Bowman joined the team as their defensive line coach this past season after retiring as a player from the Montreal Alouettes. The team finished third in sacks league-wide with 45 as David Menard (9), Mathieu Betts (7) and Obum Gwacham (5) racked up new career-highs.

Henderson was named the first full-time female coach in CFL history last March. She worked closely with the linebackers this past season and will once again play a big role in defensive game plans and breaking down film.

Oswalt has added the role of special teams assistant to his duties after serving as the club’s video coordinator in 2022. He had previously worked under Campbell in video and coaching roles with the Ottawa Redblacks before spending the 2021 season with the Edmonton Elks.