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Redblacks add former Lions coach Benevides as defensive co-ordinator

OTTAWA — The Ottawa Redblacks have named former B.C. Lions head coach Mike Benevides as their defensive co-ordinator.

Benevides, from Toronto, has been part of three Grey Cup championship teams since entering the CFL coaching ranks in 2000.

He started as a defensive assistant with Calgary in 2000 and was promoted to special teams co-ordinator and linebackers coach in 2001, helping the Stampeders win a Grey Cup that season.

He took on the same role when he joined the Lions in 2003 — earning his second Grey Cup ring in 2006 before promoted to defensive co-ordinator and linebackers coach in 2008.

Benevides was promoted to head coach in B.C. after earning his third Grey Cup title in 2011. He had a 33-21 record over three seasons at the helm, including a first-place finish in the West Division in 2012 with a 13-5 regular-season record.

He had less success in the post-season as a head coach, as B.C. lost all three of its playoff games under Benevides. He was fired after a 50-17 loss to Montreal in the 2014 East semifinal.

Benevides was Edmonton’s assistant head coach and defensive co-ordinator from 2016-18. He was released on Dec. 7, 2018 when he couldn’t come to terms on a new deal with Edmonton as teams struggled to comply with the CFL’s new non-player operations cap.

“We are excited to bring Mike on board as our defensive co-ordinator. Mike has been a successful assistant coach as well as a Head Coach in our league,” Redblacks head coach Paul LaPolice said in a statement. “He has a vast background in CFL football and his input will be very valuable to our staff and our players. Our players will also enjoy working with him on a daily basis.”