His rookie season as a head coach in the Canadian Football League didn't end with a Grey Cup championship, but it could still end with a win. B.C. Lions head coach Mike Benevides has been named one of three finalists for the Annis Stukus Award presented annually to the top coach in the CFL. After taking the reins from Wally Buono, Benevides matched the franchise record for wins by a first-year coach by guiding the Lions to a 13-5 regular season record and a first place finish in the West Division.
Unfortunately, Benevides and the Lions were unable to make the most of home-field advantage falling to Calgary in the Western Final last November.
Stampeders coach John Hufnagel and Scott Milanovich of the Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts are the other finalists for the award. Milanovich is the front-runner because of his team's post-season success although the Argos were just 9-9 in the regular season.
The winner will be announced February 28th during the annual CFL Congress in Regina, host city for next year's Grey Cup.