“Lifer” Lulay leaves the Lions, opting for the safety of work with the family

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NOTICE: Suffice it to say, there could have been better players in British Columbia. The story of the Lions. There has never been a better person than Travis Lulay

We always assumed that one day Travis Lulay would find his place in coaching because the former Lions quarterback B.C. still looked like a future coach.

Who knows? Maybe someday things will work that way. But as the second stage of his life unfolds, Lulay’s family has a stronger attraction than football, stronger than the game that has consumed him most of his life, which is why he has moved home to the beautiful Oregon transcendental valley, Willamette Valley.

Lulay and his wife Kim have three daughters aged seven, five and four. He has the opportunity to join his father Dennis’s financial planning business and work with his brother Trevor. Stayton is the couple’s hometown and they are surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Additionally, he has found a way to get rid of his competitive itching, and even though coaching the seven- and five-year-old basketball team deviates a bit from his former calling, this fits into this next chapter of his life.

“It’s something I’ve considered the longest,” he said on the phone from Stayton. “I am a coach. It’s in my blood. The question was, did I want this to be my career?

“You never never say. I have no doubt that it will come back. But 100% is about my family. “

In addition, he has great ambitions for his female team.

“If the season had lasted a little longer, we would be setting up the attacking triangle,” he laughs.

In the end, this is a happy story for Lulay and his family and, for all that he has given to the Lions and the CFL, the football community should feel good about his decision. We’ll come back to this story soon enough, but there is also a section that highlights the turning of a page for Lions, another reminder that the Wally Buono era is over and that this franchise now belongs to President Rick LeLacheur, GM Ed Hervey and new head coach Rick Campbell.

BEFORE CHRIST. Lions quarterback Travis Lulay speaks to the media after retiring from professional football in Surrey, British Columbia, February 28, 2019.

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It is also the way of sport, where the only constant is change. But, in the first season of the post-Buono era, the Lions went from 5 to 13 and sacked head coach DeVone Claybrooks after a year of work.

Clearly, Leos are progressing under new leadership. What is less clear is whether they are going in the right direction.

“It has changed and the change is natural,” says Lulay, who worked in business sales for a year after retiring as a player in 2018. “I could see the end of a very good round under Wally.

“There is no doubt that a transition is underway. Worry is not the word, but you want it to continue to succeed. I know there are many very good people in this building. “

Except that many of these people are no longer connected to Lions. While we are on the subject, the club has not released an official statement about Lulay’s decision or his years with the franchise.

“Guys like (quarterback) Mike (Reilly), (catcher) Bryan Burnham and (defensive back) T.J. Lee are fundamental pieces on which they can build something. The key is to keep finding guys like that. “

And guys like Lulay.

The career of the veteran quarterback has been praised in the previous columns and, because they tend to get a little foggy, we will not go back that way. In other words, there could have been better players in Lions history. There has never been a better person than Lulay.

The hope, in fact, is that one day he will get the training bug and become for the Lions what Dave Dickenson has become for the Calgary Stampeders. Without too much imagination, you could imagine that Lulay would become a quarterback coach for a few years and get the position of offensive coordinator before becoming a head coach.

He admits that he thought of this career arc. But, the life of the coach is not easy, especially in the early stages, and with a young family and a golden opportunity waiting for him in his hometown, he opted for safety.

Still, it was interesting to hear that the game did not leave him even though he left the game, and maybe once his daughters have mastered the triangle, he will find his way back to football.

“Even after a year away, it’s hard to get away from football, but it seemed like the way to go,” he said. “There is something to be said for firming the roots. It can be done, but it is difficult in the coaching world. “

Former B.C. Lions quarterback Travis Lulay in 2018

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CANADIAN PRESS KIT

Buono, for example, has held two head coaching positions in almost 30 years, including Lulay’s 10 years with the Lions. But he was the exception. Even the most successful coaches lead lives full of uncertainty and the constant threat of upheaval.

It wasn’t for Lulay at this point.

“I have no doubt that I could have found some balance in this world,” he said. “But I also know what life can be like. “

He pauses.

“Look, I’m a lifelong man. You can’t get rid of me. If this COVID thing taught us anything, it taught us how connected we can be. When the calendar arrives, I will circle certain dates. You will see me again. “

There is comfort in there.

During our conversation, Lulay authorized that he had just taken part in a project with the CFL website in which he, Reilly, Ryan Phillips, Korey Banks and Geroy Simon watched a replay of the Gray Cup game. 2011 while keeping pace.

“They’re going to have to edit this,” says Lulay. “There was a lot of twittering. “

But you will want to see that; see Lulay when he was the most remarkable player in the CFL; see him lead a team that has turned into the best Lions team ever.

This is how I will remember him, hoping that another memory will take its place.

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