Capping an unexpected turn in their coaching search, the Buffalo Bills are expected to announce Chan Gailey as their new head coach at a 2PM ET press conference today, according to reports from ESPN.
Gailey's apparent hiring marks the end of what SB Nation's resident Bills blogger Brian Galliford called a "twisting and arduous head coaching search" that included numerous assistant coaches around the league declining to even interview with Buffalo. ESPN reports that the Bills zeroed in on Gailey not only because of his previous head coaching experience and offensive expertise, but also because Bill Cowher, who the Bills doggedly pursued, recommended him to the team.
Gailey has had a long career in both college and the pros. He's been the head coach of both the Cowboys and Georgia Tech, as well as serving as the offensive coordinator in Denver, Pittsburgh, Miamia, and -- most recently -- in Kansas City, where he was precipitously fired this preseason after the new coaching regime came in.
Bills fans at SB Nation's Buffalo Rumblings were none too pleased with the announcement that Gailey is expected to be announced as the new head coach, with 58% expressing disapproval.
Indeed, the rather shocking denouement of the Bills' coaching search has left many of their fans exasperated at the lack of imagination of the team's front office for hiring another retread. SB Nation's Buffalo Rumblings didn't quite feel that way, but certainly understood it:
This news, if it ends up becoming reality, is surreal, almost to the point of a complete loss for words on my part. I'm not angry or exasperated or apathetic, which I understand puts me in a very distinct minority for the time being. But I don't think I can accurately summarize my feelings on the matter in a tidy, coherent post. Nothing about Buffalo's coaching search has been tidy or coherent [...]
Chan Gailey is a good football coach. I'm not sure I'd call him a good head football coach, but I certainly wouldn't call him a bad head football coach. Everyone's equating him to Dick Jauron, but Jauron came to Buffalo with 36 wins in five-plus years of coaching; Gailey has half as many (18) in two years of experience. [...]
That's about where the good news ends. I don't get caught up in the political or image aspects of things like this, but I fully understand why folks would be upset or worried. Bill Cowher has been dangled in front of us for weeks - even the owner mentioned he'd spoken with him - and to ride that roller coaster from Cowher all the way down to coordinators turning down interview requests to landing at Gailey, well, it's not hard to figure out why some stomachs might have turned. I'm not sure I believe the vast majority of folks threatening to drop season tickets or spend Sundays at the Home Depot, but yeah, I get the angst.
The only thing that matters going forward from the moment Gailey is introduced as head coach - remember, we're assuming it's a foregone conclusion - is what happens next. The only way Gailey will prove if he can handle head coaching responsibilities in this league is by winning ball games and making smart management decisions during games and with his personnel.
Whether the Bills would have been better served going with the one hot young assistant willing to interview with them -- Leslie Frazier, the defensive coordinator of the Vikings, who happens to have the Bill Polian/Tony Dungy "stamp of approval" -- is now a moot point. In Gailey, the Bills should have a decent, if uninspiring, choice. Par for the course in Buffalo.