New B.C. Lions head coach cool under pressure as camp gets underway
Christina Heydanus, CTV News Vancouver
Published Tuesday, May 21, 2019 11:52AM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 22, 2019 8:59AM PDT
If there’s one thing to know about new B.C. Lions head coach DeVone Claybrooks, it’s don’t let his kindness fool you—as he’s all business on the field.
Training camp opened Sunday in Kamloops, where Claybrooks has been busy evaluating his roster and finding out who fits best where.
The 41-year-old knows a thing or two about winning, as he had a successful stint as a defensive coordinator with the Calgary Stampeders, winning two Grey Cups. While he may be defensive minded—that’s not necessarily how the Leos will look this year.
"I think our team will be a gritty tough team and you’re going to have to play your best effort,” Claybrooks told CTV News. “We can play explosive offence, we have a quarterback that can sling it and weapons at every spot we want."
Claybrooks is referring to his new pivot, Grey Cup champ Mike Reilly and the numerous offence threats, like Duran Carter, who the team recently brought in.
With all the new faces, you think it’d take time for Claybrooks to connect with his new team, but it’s actually the opposite. The Virginia native has no problem making friends, and his way of winning them over is with food.
"I like to do a game day breakfast at home. I'll make breakfast for the whole team, which is a process in itself, and now I do it for 100,” Claybrooks said.
Another ingredient that fuels him is family. He’s a self-proclaimed “momma’s boy” who credits his success to his upbringing.
"It’s family first,” Claybrooks explains. “If you’re able to put family first, then you’re able to put that into perspective and football becomes easy. In order to have a successful organization you have to have good people.”
And the goal for Claybrooks with this organization is to build a winning tradition.
“We’re going to win championships, we're not here to sugar coat it. We want to make B.C. a place of championship contention and we want to be the last one standing at the end of November. That’s our goal."