The BC Lions Football Club is pleased to announce its coaching staff for the 2020 season. The following will work under head coach/defensive coordinator Rick Campbell:
Offensive coordinator Jordan Maksymic
Special teams coordinator Don Yanowsky
Wide receivers coach Jason Tucker
Running backs coach Beau Walker
Offensive line coach Kelly Bates
Defensive backs coach Ryan Phillips
Defensive line coach Leroy Blugh
Linebackers coach Travis Brown
Offensive assistant Danny O’Brien
“I am very excited to get this staff locked in for 2020 and to be able to hit the ground running for the new season,” said Campbell. “This group has an excellent mix of experience as well as some great up and comers in the coaching ranks.”
Maksymic (pronounced MAX-EM-ICK): Joins the Lions following a four-year stint with the Edmonton Eskimos, first as quarterbacks coach and pass game coordinator from 2016-18 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.
Yanowsky: The veteran of nearly four decades in the coaching ranks is coming off a stint at Texas-El Paso (UTEP) where he ran special teams and coached the school’s safeties. He made his CFL coaching debut with the Calgary Stampeders (linebackers) from 2012-13 before two seasons as special teams coordinator with the Ottawa RedBlacks. Prior to moving north, Yanowsky spent over 20 years in US College football.
Tucker: The three-time CFL All-Star and two-time Grey Cup champion as a player with the Eskimos begins his 10th season in the pro coaching ranks. He began as receivers coach in Edmonton from 2009-10 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.
Walker: The native of Bend, Oregon joins the Lions after four seasons with the 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 as well as a year in Nebraska as an offensive assistant.
Bates: Enters his first full season as offensive line coach after being named to the post on August 31st of last season. He played eight of his ten seasons with the Lions and won Grey Cups with BC as a player in 2006 and a coach in 2011. Kelly spent four seasons (2011-14) on the Lions’ coaching staff, first as offensive assistant then as running backs coach and draft coordinator. Kelly also had a three-year stint as head coach at Simon Fraser University.
Phillips: The man known affectionately as ‘RP’ returns for his second season as the club’s 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.
Blugh (pronounced BLUE): 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 JC Sherritt recorded 100 defensive stops the year before. Brown’s coaching career began at his alma mater Fresno State (defensive quality control, linebackers) from 2014-15.
O’Brien: The six-year veteran quarterback joins the Lions coaching staff after spending his final season in BC. O’Brien will assist offensive coordinator Jordan Maksymic and also work closely with Mike 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.