24 seconds with Wally Buono

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 7:20 AM ET

Lions' general manager and head coach Wally Buono was a linebacker and punter for the Montreal Alouettes. Buono, with 186 career regular season coaching wins in 16 seasons, is second only to Don Matthews.

24 hours: How did you get into football?

Wally: "I was just hanging out at a park in North Montreal, doing nothing. Idle minds always get into trouble. Al (Phaneuf, a future Alouette) saw my brother and I and said 'do you want to play football?' The next night we went into practice."

24: You were born in Potenza, Italy. Do you ever visit the old country?

Wally: "We're planning a trip in May. It's in the very south. Y'know where Calabria is? It's the neighbouring region."

24: There's a Commercial Drive cafe called Calabria. Do you go there?

Wally: "Usually, not always, on the day before the game. I'll drop in before we go into the stadium, have a double espresso and talk a bit."

24: Who would be your ideal coffee partner at Calabria?

Wally: "Jesus. He'd be a very interesting person to talk to. Plus the insight, the wisdom. He was way beyond his time. Maybe ask him why some things aren't the way (he) thought they should be."

24: Where's your favourite spot in the Lower Mainland for Italian cooking?

Wally: "Home."

24: Stephen Brunt's book Facing Ali, about Muhammad Ali's opponents, is on your desk.

Wally: "I wanted to read about George Chuvalo, just what his thoughts were. He's a Canadian folk hero."


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