In new role, Brandon opens Bills coaching search
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — With the Buffalo Bills hierarchy settled, it's on with the coaching search.
"As soon as we get off this podium, we go to work," Bills CEO Russ Brandon said Tuesday, shortly after being promoted to team president. "We're heading out of here and starting that process."
First stop: Arizona.
That was the destination of a plane Brandon, general manager Buddy Nix and several other key front-office members had boarded to immediately begin the process of finding a coach.
Though the team, on its website, didn't divulge any details beyond Brandon's travel plans, Arizona is home to three potential candidates: Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton as well as former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt and his assistant Russ Grimm, who had both been fired a day earlier.
It was a busy and eventful start to the new year for the Bills, after closing 2012 by firing coach Chan Gailey following three losing seasons.
Brandon's promotion gives him full control of the franchise's day-to-day operations. Nix has been retained. And assistant GM Doug Whaley's star is rising. Whaley will be involved in the coaching search, an indication that he continues to be groomed as Nix's eventual successor.
Brandon will now report directly to team owner Ralph Wilson, after assuming the title previously held by the 94-year-old owner. The transfer of power was made Monday, when Brandon met with Wilson at the owner's home in suburban Detroit.
"It was a rather emotional visit," Brandon said. "He told me he was passing the torch to me to run the franchise in totality. He has granted me full authority to run the franchise with zero restrictions and zero limitations."
The Bills are in the midst of their fifth coaching search since 2001. They're coming off their second consecutive 6-10 season and extended the NFL's longest playoff drought to 13 years. Over that stretch, Buffalo only once had a winning record — 9-7 in 2004.
Wilson, the franchise's founder, has only once before given up the title of president. That was in 2001, when he hired Tom Donahoe to also serve as general manager. Donahoe was fired after the 2005 season, at which point Wilson took back the title and said he had no plan to ever give it up again.
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