The BC Lions’ head coach and general manager announced on Thursday that 2018 will be his last season coaching, and revealed the team has hired a new general manager.

Wally Buono, the Lions’ general manager for the past 15 years, introduced Ed Hervey as his successor. Buono will continue to coach the team for the 2018 season, but said that will be his last in the CFL.

“So probably the best way to describe it—the beginning of the end,” said Farhan Lalji, a reporter for TSN.

Lalji says Buono joined the franchise at its lowest and then helped it reach some “bigtime heights” in 2011 with a Grey Cup win. Now, however, he says the Lions have moved back down to the bottom in terms of marketplace positioning. He says fans could be looking to Hervey to help rebuild the brand.

“Wally will be a better coach because he can focus on it and Ed does a good job of bringing in players, but is it enough to regenerate and re-excite the fan base? That’s the big question,” said Lalji.

Buono said he has a tremendous amount of respect for Hervey at a press conference Thursday.

“We believe that he will be a tremendous asset to our football club,” he said. “He will be a fresh face, a fresh mind.”

A fresh mind is something Vancouver football fans walking outside the stadium Thursday said the BC Lions could use.

“[The Lions] haven’t done anything in years,” said a man named Bert. “Why not rest, retire and let a younger man take over.”

Josh Grant, another football fan, told CTV News “I think you gotta shake the tree when things aren’t going well,” referring to the disappointing 2017 season.

Hervey was previously the general manager of Edmonton’s CFL team from 2013-2016, where he helped them toward a Grey Cup win in 2015.

“Ed Hervey’s a good football man,” said Lalji. “The way he built that team in Edmonton was very solid, from the ground up.”

Hervey was criticized, however, for restricting media access to the players during his time in Edmonton. He was ultimately let go in April 2017.

But he said he’s excited to begin working in Vancouver, and that Buono sticking around for another year was a key factor for accepting the job.

“You might as well surround yourself with someone who has a desire to win, a passion to win,” Hervey said.

Hervey will begin working as the Lions’ general manager for the upcoming season, while Buono remains as head coach. Buono will also retain his role as the team’s vice president.

“It gives me the opportunity, as a general manager, to learn from him. To ask questions… To share ideas about how to make this team a Grey Cup champion in 2018,” Hervey said in a video posted to Twitter. [LINK]

Buono has been the Lions’ head coach for 11 seasons. He’s the all time leader in CFL coaching wins, and was inducted into the Order of Canada in 2015.

With a report from CTV Vancouver's David Molko