Ackles a 'dear friend'

BOB MACKIN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

Owner David Braley pledged the entire B.C. Lions' organization would do its best "on the field and off," just as Bob Ackles would have wanted after Sunday's sudden death of the beloved 69-year-old president and CEO.

"As a result of his outstanding leadership I have every confidence that our staff, our coaches and our players will continue to make us proud as we move forward," Braley said in a statement yesterday.

Braley called Ackles a "dear friend" who was "passionate about family, the Lions and the Canadian Football League."

Braley said vice-president of business George Chayka and head coach and general manager Wally Buono would work "to ensure both business and football operations continue to function at the high level Bob established." Braley made no mention of Ackles' successor.

The heart attack victim was B.C.'s original waterboy in 1954 and rose to be the general manager in 1975. After 11 years, he went south for 14 seasons as an executive with four National Football League teams. Braley hired him in 2002 to save the Lions.

During his years with the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins, Ackles worked closely with head coach Jimmy Johnson, who is now a Fox Sports TV analyst. Johnson declined an interview, but issued the following statement: "We are saddened to hear of Bob's passing. Bob loved life and was always a joy to be around. Our thoughts and prayers go out to (Ackles' widow) Kay and the family."


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