Immediately following the last game of the 2009 season, rumors started to fly over who would be the next head coach for the Buffalo Bills. At first, popular names started to appear all over the internet linked to the Bills: Bill Cowher, Mike Shanahan, Jon Gruden, Jim Hasslet, Brian Billick, and even Tony Dungy.
And while it was exciting for many Bills fans to see their management finally making an effort to change the attitude of this struggling franchise, once the smoked cleared and the Bills found their man, many fans were left scratching their heads asking…who?
Yes, new head coach Chan Gailey isn’t exactly a household name, but that doesn’t mean he won’t end up being the right man to take the Buffalo Bills to the promise land. So before training camp starts, let’s all learn a bit more about Chan Gailey.
Chan Gailey, 58, was a three-year letterman for the Gators as a quarterback in the 1970’s. His first coaching job came at Troy State University where he was in charge of the secondary.
After leaving Troy State, he spent four season with the Air Force Academy before taking over as head coach in 1983 for Troy State University. In his second season as head coach, he lead the team to a 12-1 and a Division II championship.
He made his professional league debut as a defensive assistant and special teams coach in 1984 for the Denver Broncos. The team made three Super Bowl appearances during his six year tenure on the staff.
Gailey soon left the NFL to coach in the World League of American Football, but quickly returned to the NFL to join the Pittsburgh Steelers as their wide receivers coach and eventually as their offensive coordinator. The Steelers won their division all four years that Gailey was there.
Gailey’s most recent NFL head coaching job came in 1998, with the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys made it to the playoffs in both seasons with Gailey calling the shots, but failed to advance pass the first round. After the Cowboys, he signed with the Miami Dolphins as the offensive coordinator for both the 2000 and 2001 season.
Leaving the NFL yet again, Gailey spent the next five years as the head coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets were he lead the team to Bowl Games in each of his first five seasons, winning only two.
Being dismissed from the team following the 2007 season, Gailey was hired as the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs, were after one full season with the team, he was suddenly let go after three pre-season games in 2009.
That brings us to the 2010 season, where Chan Gailey becomes the 15th head coach of the Buffalo Bills, the team’s fifth head coach in ten years.
And I will be the first to admit that although Gailey has plenty of experience coaching football, his overall record and accomplishments won’t scare off or wow any opposing team. (In nine seasons as a college head coach, he had a record of 68-44. In 13 seasons as a National Football League assistant, his teams went 124-82-1. In two seasons as an NFL head coach, he went 18-14)
But we can rest assure that Bills fans everywhere (including myself) will give Gailey every chance in the world to succeed. To finally have an offensive minded coach, which is something we haven’t seen at One Bills Drive is quite a long time, is reason alone for excitement.