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Inside the CFL: Grey Cup countdown

Ted Michaels, CFL Editor

Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - Wally Buono knew the question was coming.

The 61-year-old head coach and general manager of the BC Lions, along with Paul LaPolice, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach, met the media on Wednesday as Grey Cup week officially got under way in Vancouver.

Buono was asked if he had made a decision about keeping both jobs or relinquishing one of them, after Sunday's Grey Cup game.

"I said at the beginning of the year, the relevance of success or failure is not related to whether I coach again or not," he said.

"Today I'm coaching, after Sunday, I'll sit down and resolve it. That's the agreement that [Lions owner David Braley] and I have, and I'm going to stick to that agreement. When I committed to signing for three years, I told David that I would be committed to the contract, not necessarily to the two roles. Winning or losing is not going to have any effect at all."

Buono has been a CFL coach for 22 seasons, the last nine with the Lions.

The native of Potenza, Italy, is the winningest coach in CFL history with 254 regular-season victories and four championships, two with Calgary and two with BC.

For his part, LaPolice, the second-year Blue Bomber head coach, talked about the adversity his team faced this season, and the biggest emotional bridge they had to cross: the sudden death of Richard Harris, the beloved defensive line coach.

"I think it's very poetic that these two teams get to face each other again, because two days after the game, (BC played in Winnipeg after the death of Harris) the guy sitting next to me (Buono) did a tremendous thing and said let's get both teams together to pay respects to coach Harris. When coach Harris came into the league, it was with BC, and when he left, it was with Winnipeg."

The Blue Bombers, who finished the 2010 season with a 4-14 record, started off this year 7-1 and ended up 10-8. Yet, LaPolice pointed out, his team never took others for granted.

"It was very easy for our players to look at some of these teams because we were that team the year before. One thing I always respected about coach Buono when I'd see him in press conferences or after games, you don't get too high after wins and you don't get too low after the losses and just keep working your process.

"Every team in this league had that point where they started to lose some games. But I think two teams that were mentally tough found a way to finish when a lot of people didn't think they would."

NOTES: A tradition continued at the coaches media conference. The question: How do the coaches feel about their players having sex before the game?

"I appreciate everyone's concern about that first of all," said LaPolice. "I'd say two things. First, everything in moderation. I heard about this question the other day, and I was told to be prepared for it. Part of my thought process is, I have to make sure none of the guys put it on Twitter. It's too much information for me."

Buono, a Grey Cup veteran, was also prepared for the question.

"What you do, you do. What's the big deal?," he said. "Some players, God bless them, enjoy sex, some don't. At the end, what matters is whether you line up for three and a half hours. So, if sex is an excuse, it's a bad excuse."

- The Lions hope to accomplish a rare feat. Only three times in CFL history has the host team won a Grey Cup.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat Saskatchewan 13-10 in 1972, Montreal pounded Edmonton 44-6 in 1977, and the Lions beat Baltimore 26-23 in 1994, at BC Place.

Ted Michaels is the host of the Fifth Quarter, on AM 900 CHML.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Ted Michaels at ted@900chml.com.

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