B.C. Lions general manager Ed Hervey, left, introduces Rick Campbell during a news conference at the team’s training facility in Surrey, B.C., Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. Campbell and football-operations director Neil McEvoy will be taking over as co-GM’s from Hervey, who stepped down from the post in October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

B.C. Lions general manager Ed Hervey, left, introduces Rick Campbell during a news conference at the team’s training facility in Surrey, B.C., Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. Campbell and football-operations director Neil McEvoy will be taking over as co-GM’s from Hervey, who stepped down from the post in October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

B.C. Lions name coach Rick Campbell, football operations director Neil McEvoy co-GMs

Pair take over from Ed Hervey, who stepped down in October

Rick Campbell’s list of job duties grew once again on Monday as the B.C. Lions named the head coach and defensive coordinator a co-general manager.

Campbell will share the role with the club’s longtime football operations director Neil McEvoy.

It’s a split that Campbell believes will work well.

“I’ve always found on a football team that when the personnel department and the coaches are really working hand in hand, that’s a good thing,” he said on a video call. “And that’s going to naturally happen with the way we’re set up.”

The duo take over from Ed Hervey, who stepped down from the post for “personal reasons” in October.

The Lions missed the playoffs last year and responded by dismissing rookie head coach DeVone Claybrooks.

Campbell was named B.C.’s head coach in December 2019 after six seasons with the Ottawa Redblacks. He has yet to call a play for the Lions, however, because the CFL scrapped plans for an abreviated 2020 season in August due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Campbell was named the CFL’s top coach in 2015 and the following year led Ottawa to a Grey Cup title.

McEvoy has served as B.C.’s director of football operations since 2014, and brings a lot of practical experience to the GM position, Cambell said.

“Neil knows this league inside and out, and he knows the B.C. Lions and this community inside and out,” he said. “He understands everything from contracts and negotiation lists and all that type of stuff. It’s not a learning process, it’s something he knows how to do.”

McEvoy started working for the Lions in ticket sales in 1995, but was a fan of the club long before, starting when he went to games as a kid. That history makes the promotion to general manager extra special.

“Words can’t describe how excited I am for this opportunity and to be in this position,” he said.

“I found out real quick early on in my football career that becoming a professional athlete is probably not going to happen, but there are other jobs with the B.C. Lions and in the professional sports landscape. This is position that I’ve wanted for a long time.”

READ MORE: Edmonton’s CFL team drops ‘Eskimos’ name, will begin search for new name

Campbell and McEvoy are already at work on preparing for a potential 2021 season, and announced Monday that the eight members of the Lions coaching staff hired in 2020 will return. They include: Jordan Maksymic (offensive co-ordinator); Dan Yanowsky (special teams); Kelly Bates (offensive line); Jason Tucker (receivers); Danny O’Brien (running backs); Leroy Blugh (defensive line); Ryan Phillips (defensive backs) and Travis Brown (linebackers).

Last month, Ryan Rigmaiden was named director of U.S. scouting. Bob Ralph (director of Canadian scouting) and Geroy Simon (director of global scouting and U.S. regional scout in charge of evaluating the top international prospects for the global draft) will both return and work closely with Rigmaiden.

But there’s still a lot of business ahead for the newly appointed GMs.

A question mark hangs over B.C.’s marquee quarterback Mike Reilly, who has filed a grievance against the Lions, reportedly over the nonpayment of guaranteed money.

Club president Rick LeLacheur told season ticket holders in a virtual town hall last month that he’s confident the former Grey Cup MVP will be back with the Lions when the CFL returns.

The Lions also have 38 players on expiring contracts, including star wide receiver Bryan Burnham.

Campbell said the club is looking to lock up a number of the players before the league’s free agency period begins on Feb. 9.

“We’re going to work really hard to retain and fit as many guys as we can on our roster,” he said. “That’s going to be the next big step for the Lions.”

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

BC LionsCFLFootball

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File photo)
Case of COVID-19 confirmed in School District 69 (Qualicum)

Individual was at PASS/Woodwinds, with a last date of attendance of Jan. 22

The Qualicum Beach Cafe team: from left, host owner Eli Brennan, general manager Amy Turner, host owner/chef Alan Tse, chef de cuisine Todd Bright, sous chef Jack Mitchell and pastry chef/baker Noemie Girard. (Submitted photo)
Fresh start: Qualicum Beach Cafe set to offer West Coast dining

New operators bring wealth of culinary, hospitality experience

Professional hockey goalie Connor LaCouvee of Qualicum Beach. (PQB News file photo)
Qualicum Beach goalie Connor LaCouvee joins AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners

Backstop returns to North America after stint in Slovakia

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Most Read