Lions GM Wally Buono heads 2014 Canadian Football HOF class
Ben Cahoon, Uzooma Okeke also inducted
He's the winningest coach in CFL history, a seven-time Grey Cup champion and one of the league's longest-serving and most respected executives.
And now, Wally Buono is a Hall of Famer.
The B.C. Lions general manager and vice-president of football operations headlines the class of 2014, which was unveiled Friday night by the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
Also named for induction were former CFL players Ben Cahoon, Uzooma Okeke, Maurice (Moe) Racine and Charles Roberts as well as builder Larry Haylor (longtime CIS head coach) and former Ottawa Gee-Gees star running back Neil Lumsden.
Buono, 63, a native of Potenza, Italy, who grew up in Montreal, has the most career wins (254) of any CFL coach. Buono served as head coach and GM of the Calgary Stampeders from 1990-'02 before moving over to the B.C. Lions, remaining on the sidelines through the 2011 when he retired from coaching after the last of his record-tying five Grey Cup victories as a head coach to concentrate full-time on his GM duties.
Buono also won two Grey Cups as a player with the Montreal Alouettes before retiring in '83 to become an assistant coach with the Concordes. Four times he's received the Annis Stukus Trophy as the CFL's coach of the year.
Buono is also the all-time CFL coaching leader in career Grey Cup appearances (nine), seasons (22), first-place finishes (13) and games (396).
Cahoon, a 41-year-old Utah native who grew up in Alberta, spent his illustrious 13-year CFL career with the Montreal Alouettes. The sure-handed slotback, regarded as one of the league's best receivers ever, was twice the outstanding Canadian ('02, '03) and played in seven Grey Cup games, winning three.
Cahoon retired following the 2010 season as the CFL's all-time leading receiver with 1,017 career catches, a record Saskatchewan Roughriders star Geroy Simon surpassed this season. Cahoon recorded nine career 1,000-yard campaigns with Montreal.
Okeke, 43, of Beaumont, Tex., played 13 CFL seasons as an offensive lineman with Shreveport, Ottawa and Montreal. He appeared in 163 games over 10 years with the Alouettes and played in five Grey Cup games, winning in '02. Okeke, currently working in the Alouettes' front office, was also named the league's top lineman in '99 and was a seven-time all-star.
Roberts, 34, of Montclair, Calif., spent seven-plus seasons of his eight-year CFL career with Winnipeg, establishing club records for yards (9,987), 1,000-yard seasons (six), 100-yard games (37), carries (1,853), yards in a season (1,624) and all-time rushing TDs (64). A two-time CFL all-star, Roberts was the league's top special-teams player in '01 and appeared in two Grey Cup games with the Bombers ('01, '07) before finishing his career with the B.C. Lions in '08.
Lumsden, 60, of London, Ont., enjoyed a stellar college career at Ottawa and in '75 helped the Gee-Gees go 11-0 and capture the Vanier Cup. Lumsden ended his collegiate tenure as the Vanier Cup MVP. He left school first in all-time CIS scoring (410 points) and his 148 points in '75 was second all-time. That season, Lumsden scored 37 points — including five TDs — in a single game.
Lumsden played in the CFL from '76 to '85 with Toronto, Hamilton and Edmonton, winning three Grey Cups with the Eskimos (1980-'82) and being named the top Canadian in the '81 contest. Lumsden was also in the Ticats' front office when they won their last league title in '99.
Racine, 76, a native of Cornwall, Ont., was an offensive lineman and kicker with Ottawa from 1958-'74, appearing in five Grey Cup games and winning four times. He played 201 career games with the Rough Riders and was an East all-star three times. The franchise retired his No. 62 jersey upon his retirement.
Haylor, 67, of Prince Albert, Sask., spent 25 seasons as a Canadian university head coach (1971-'73 at Saskatchewan, 1984-'06 at Western). Seven times he was the OUA coach of the year and twice ('90, '98) received the Frank Tindall Award as the CIS's top coach.
Under Haylor, Western won the Yates Cup eight times and twice captured the Vanier Cup as Canadian university football's top squad. He retired in '06 with a 178-43-4 career record.