Calgary Stampeders to add legendary coach Wally Buono to Wall of Fame

Photo courtesy: Calgary Stampeders/Handout

The Calgary Stampeders are inducting Wally Buono to the team’s Wall of Fame.

The 74-year-old served as the team’s head coach from 1990 to 2002, leading them to seven first-place finishes atop the West Division, six Grey Cup appearances, and three Grey Cup victories. Buono also served as Calgary’s general manager from 1992 to 2002.

“We’re excited to bring back the Wall of Fame and honouring Wally is the perfect way to mark this historic occasion,” said team president Jay McNeil in a statement. “Wally was an excellent coach and general manager and his success with the Stampeders teams of the 1990s and early 2000s is an indelible chapter in the franchise’s proud history.

“The Wall of Fame is the result of a partnership between the team and the Calgary Stampeder Alumni Association and we’re grateful to the alumni for all of their work in helping preserve this wonderful tradition.”

Buono, who was born in Italy and raised in Montreal, holds Calgary’s franchise records for most games coached (234), most regular season wins (153), most playoff wins (12), and most Grey Cup wins (three). He also won the Annis Stukus Trophy as the CFL’s top head coach twice during his tenure in Cowtown.

“Being inducted into the Calgary Stampeders Wall of Fame is a great honour and tribute to all the good men and women who were a part of my journey!” Buono wrote on social media. “I would like to thank the Stampeders fans for their years of support. Looking forward to celebrating in July!”

After leaving the Stampeders, Buono spent 16 seasons with the B.C. Lions, including a 15-year run as the team’s general manager and 12 seasons over two stints as head coach. He won two Grey Cups with the team and retired as the franchise’s all-time leader in regular season wins (129) and the CFL’s all-time winningest coach (282)

Wally had a tremendous impact on both the Stampeders and the CFL and it’s only fitting that he takes his rightful place on the Stampeders’ Wall of Fame,” said head coach and general manager Dave Dickenson, who played under Buono for 10 seasons in Calgary and B.C. “Wally is a Stamps icon and this is a well-deserved honour.”

Calgary founded its Wall of Fame in 1985 and includes 36 players and 13 builders. This year marks the first time since 2014 that the Stampeders will make an induction.

Buono will be inducted at halftime on July 21 when the Stampeders host the Lions at McMahon Stadium.