In a CFL coaching career that spanned nearly three decades in Calgary and BC, Wally has led his teams to 13 regular season division titles and five Grey Cup championships.
Wally joined the Lions in 2003 and within two years led the team to a Grey Cup appearance in 2004. He would lead the Lions to a Grey Cup championship in 2006 and, following another title win in 2011, retire from active coaching as the league’s all-time wins leader before returning to the sidelines 2016. He would conclude his coaching career after the 2018 season.
With the Lions he has served, in various times, in the capacity of head coach, general manager and vice-president of football operations. In 2009, Buono surpassed Don Matthews’ 232 victories to become the all-time leader in coaching wins. Wally is also the Lions’ leader in career wins as head coach with 129. A three-time CFL Coach of the Year (1992, 1993, 2006 and 2011), Wally was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in the Builder category in 2014. He was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 2016, and is also a in the Italian Cultural Centre Hall of Fame. In 2023, he was inducted into the BC Lions Wall of Fame.
In 2003, the Saint Bernard Pass Charitable Foundation established the Wally Buono Award, given annually to Canada’s top junior football player. One of the more high-profile winners of the award was all-star running back Andrew Harris, who later went on to play for Wally as a member of the Lions and was part of the 2011 championship team.