Bronzed Buono for Hall

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

Wally Buono has made it into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame but not as a player, builder or coach.

The former Calgary Stampeders boss will pass through the doors of the Hamilton museum's junior football wing in the form of a bronze sculpture, much like U.S. college football's Heisman Trophy.

Buono has had a national award named in his honour since 2003 and each year it recognizes our country's top junior football player.

This year, for the first time, the recipient will receive a bronze sculpture of Buono from his playing days as a linebacker with the Montreal Alouettes circa the 1970s.

"They want to do this to bring attention to the award and to minor sports and that's a good thing," said a modest Buono, who won two Grey Cups as a player and three as head coach of the Stamps.

"I'm flattered by it. This type of an award helps young people and does good.

"It hopefully gives young players something to look forward to and to work toward."

The Wally Buono Award was established in 2003 by The Saint Bernard Pass Charitable Foundation to recognize Canada's top junior football player.

Recipients must prove their athletic and leadership abilities on the field as well as a high level of leadership within their community.

Previous recipients have included Al Giacalone, 2003, (Calgary Colts), Chris Ciezki, 2004, (Edmonton Huskies) and Jeff Halvorson (Okanagan Sun) last year.

This year's winner will be announced Aug. 9.

The award will be housed in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum in a soon-to-be-built exhibit for junior football.

The trophy is being created by renowned Montana sculptor Steve Lillegard.

Lillegard even dug up a pair of Puma football cleats from 1974 to replicate Buono's appearance three decades ago.


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