To many, Wally Buono is known as a CFL coaching legend. Freddie Moore's description of the B.C. Lions sidelines boss is, um, shall we say somewhat less favourable.
"Wally is an a--hole," the Renegades right tackle said yesterday. "Everybody knows that."
Moore has obvious reasons for his disdain of Buono, who has won three Grey Cups, 186-of-279 regular-season games and, heading into tonight's showdown at Frank Clair Stadium, guided the Leos to an incredible 9-0 start.
After two seasons as a starter on the B.C. line, Moore was cut by Buono in July. He was promptly picked up by the Renegades and tonight makes his sixth start for Joe Paopao's team.
Yet, Moore insists his opinion of Buono is as it has always been -- and that it is shared by those who wear the orange helmets.
"They've got to hold their tongues, but I'll say it ... I ain't heard nothing good about him since I've been (in the CFL)," said Moore, a 6-foot-6, 305-pounder from Florida.
Asked to explain, he said: "Wally is Wally. For one thing, he's not a player's coach. There's a whole list of (crap) I could name. He's just different. I felt that way since I first encountered him.
"I'd take being on this (5-5) team over that 9-0 team any day. It's all about me being happy. I'm not going to dwell on Wally. He made a decision and I'm happy to be here. Anybody is happy to get away from Wally."
DIFFERENT THAN PAOPAO
Buono realizes he's disliked by players but shrugs it off, saying it comes with the position. He also acknowledges that he does things differently than Paopao, who develops strong bonds with his players.
"I'm not Joe Paopao and I don't expect him to be me," said Buono, in his third season with the Lions and making his first trip to Frank Clair Stadium since losing last November's Grey Cup to the Toronto Argos. "When you're in a position of authority, where you have to hire and fire, you can't be their friends. You've got to separate your emotions from reality.
"I tell them, 'my job is to replace all of you guys. As long as you know that ... make my job difficult.' "
As for Moore, Buono says the giant lineman was warned with the rest of the veterans that there would be little patience shown this season for those who weren't improving. Moore, who was replaced by rookie Texan Jamal Powell, didn't show Buono enough.
"Freddie's a good guy ... it doesn't matter what he says about me," said Buono. "Players get moved for a lot of reasons. It's part of why we're 9-0. I feel we've made better personnel decisions."
Marc Pilon, who was used as a long snapper in B.C. before signing with the Renegades and establishing himself as a starter on the D-line, refused to say anything negative about Buono.
"You know where you stand with him, right or wrong," said Pilon. "I had a role on his team. I wasn't getting anywhere else with him. I had to come here to play."