After another early exit, another disappointing season, and this time a 50-17 thumping in Montreal, the axe fell on the BC Lions coaching staff, and this time it dropped on head coach Mike Benevides.
Benevides was fired by the Lions on Thursday, after seasons with the Lions and three playoff appearances.
“Today, we made the very difficult decision to relieve Mike Benevides of his duties as head coach of the BC Lions,” said Wally Buono, GM and VP of Football Operations, in a release on BCLions.com. “Our football team experienced a very tumultuous season. Still, we believe as an organization that the team we had assembled was capable of more than what we accomplished in the regular season and in the playoffs.
“In short, we underperformed and failed to meet both our own expectations and the expectations of our fans.”
On Tuesday, while the players cleaned out their lockers, veteran defensive back Dante Marsh said the 2014 Lions failed to create an identity.
“We just weren’t who we were,” Marsh said. “Players can fool (the media), players can fool general managers, players can fool coaches, players can fool fans. Players can’t fool other players.”
Buono called the Lions’ loss to Montreal “very, very disturbing” last weekend.
“Was I in a state of shock (Sunday)? Yes,” he said. “Would I ever would have imagined that would have occurred? No.
“What did I learn about our football club? I learned the fact that we’re not good enough and I learned the fact we have to do something about it.”
The Lions (9-9) lost in last week’s crossover game to the Alouettes (9-9) by the aforementioned 33-point margin after surviving the CFL’s regular season without the services of quarterback Travis Lulay.
Lulay won the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player award in 2011, the same year the Lions won their last Grey Cup… the year before Benevides took over the on-field reigns from Buono.
“Mike is a very good coach as well as an outstanding husband and father,” Buono said today. “His commitment and loyalty to our organization was endless and we wish him the very best in the future.”
In three seasons, Benevides’ Lions compiled a 33-21 regular season record, including a league-best 13-5 record in 2012.
They lost to the Stampeders, 34-29 in the West Final in 2012, and lost 29-25 to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in last year’s Western semifinal.