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B.C. Lions head coach Jeff Tedford talks to players on the bench during the first half of CFL action against Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Winnipeg July 30, 2015.

John Woods/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The last time Wally Buono served as both head coach and general manager of the B.C. Lions, he guided the team to a Grey Cup victory.

He'll return to the dual role next season as he tries to get the CFL club back to the championship game for the first time since that 2011 title.

Buono, who has spent 13 years as GM of the Lions, will be back on the sidelines in 2016 as a replacement for Jeff Tedford, who resigned Wednesday after one season as head coach.

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"I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't a little scared," Buono said. "But I'd also be lying to you if I said I wasn't a little excited."

The Lions settled for a third-place finish in the West Division last season with a 7-11 record. B.C. was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs after a 35-9 loss to the Calgary Stampeders.

"After much consideration, I have elected to exercise an option in my contract and will resign as head coach of the B.C. Lions in order to pursue other opportunities in college football," Tedford said in a statement. "I want to thank Lions ownership, management, coaching staff and players and in particular Lions fans for the opportunity and privilege of serving as head coach this past year.

"The team displayed great fortitude in overcoming several obstacles this season and the future is very bright for these young Lions. I wish the Lions family the very best and long and continued success."

Buono, who also serves as vice-president of football operations, held a news conference later in the day at the team's practice facility.

"My job is to do what I do best and build an organization and build winning football teams," he said.

Buono has spent 13 seasons as GM of the team and has 22 years of coaching experience with B.C. and Calgary. The four-time coach of the year has won five Grey Cups as a coach and owns a regular-season coaching record of 254-154-3.

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"You've got to be able to rise up to the challenge," Buono said. "I believe that I've risen to the challenge many times. Why am I here? The single most important reason is I want to put this organization back in the proper position.

"You can do that when you are in control of everything that goes on with football matters."

Buono was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame last year. He coached the Lions for nine seasons before Mike Benevides began his three-year run in the position in 2012.

Tedford, who spent six seasons in the CFL as a quarterback in the 1980s, started his coaching career in 1989 as an offensive assistant with the Stampeders.

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