For the first time since he bought the franchise in 1960, Buffalo Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson junior is giving up organization control. WGR 550 has learned CEO Russ Brandon will officially be named Team President during a noon news conference today. It will be carried live on WGR.
WGR has also learned Buddy Nix will be staying on as General Manager in the short term, likely through the April draft. Nix will then be succeeded by Assistant G-M Doug Whaley.
Brandon, Nix and Whaley will be conducting the search for the new head coach and that search will begin tomorrow when the trio head out on the road to start the interviews. A league source tells WGR the first stop will be Arizona where the Bills brain trust will interview former Cardinals Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt and Cards Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton.
Only once before has Wilson given the title of Team President to another individual and that was back in 2000 when it was handed to Tom Donahoe. But Wilson never gave up organizational control and would always have the final say on all football matters. Those days are now over with a symbolic passing of the torch to Brandon who has been told “its your show”.
WGR has confirmed the Bills have been contacted by former Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith who has expressed an interest in the job. WGR has also confirmed the Bills will interview Syracuse Head Coach Doug Marrone.
A source also tells WGR the Bills will “take a hard run at Chip Kelly” and that there are no restrictions or limitations when it comes to the search for a coach. With Wilson removing himself from the day to day operations, Brandon, Nix and Whaley have complete authority to hire the coach and will not need approval from Wilson, which has been standard operating procedure for the franchise. The Bills would prefer a coach with NFL experience and one that has already been a head coach, pro or college. They would like a coach who has experience managing a team.
WGR has learned more than 2 dozen coaches have already contracted the Bills to express interest in the position.