Growing up in Buffalo, in the 80's, you could not help but become emotionally invested in the rise of the Buffalo Bills. I remember Jim Kelly getting off the plane before the 86 season, I remember the 87 Strike (when the scabs damn near got the Bills in the playoffs), and I remember each an every game between 1988 and 1996. Many people thought it was the personnel changes that happened when players aged and moved on the dropped the Bills into the mire of mediocrity in which they now reside, but those people are wrong.
The Buffalo Bills started falling apart because in 1993 management chose treasurer Jeff Littmann over GM Bill Polian. From that point on the Buffalo Bills became a team on the decline. They lasted a few more seasons but the nice trades, the draft gems, the excitement left the Buffalo Bills organization. Polian went on to the Indianapolis Colts and the two franchises have traded fortunes.
The decline of the Bills come to mind because today the UB Bulls lost the best coach they have had in the past 50 years and I find myself far less worried than I though I would have been.
The growth in success of UB athletics has been tied, by many, to the success of the football program and that's a normal albeit mistaken way to view things in college athletics. The first UB squad to win a MAC title was not the UB Football team but the UB Women's Tennis team. Since Ward Manuel started calling the shots in 2005 nearly every UB athletics team has improved.
When Manuel came to UB in 2005 he said:
"I am looking forward to establishing Buffalo as a very competitive university within the MAC and nationally. It is a tremendous institution with the capability to reach great heights both within and outside of the Mid-American Conference. I look forward to working with President Simpson and the many talented people within the Division of Athletics, at the university and in the greater Buffalo community."He has UB well on its way to being a nationally competitive university and the loss of a coach, even a coach like Gill should not be enough to derail the vision that Manuel has laid out for UB. It may, for a very short time, cause a hick up or two with the football program.
Turner Gill is something special as a coach and he was the right coach for UB, at the time. A number of mid major in division one teams could have had a shot at him between 2003 and 2006 yet it was Ward Manuel who found him and it was Manuel who sold him a university at the very bottom of division IA football.
If ward manuel could sell UB (2006) to an assistant NFL coach I find it hard to believe he will not do as well filling the role this time around. I don't have any doubt that Manuel will find a suitable replacement.
Incidentally, Football Coaching Scoop, who carries as much weight as a trouser cough after the Harbaugh fiasco, has put together their primary list of people 'supposedly on Manuels list'.
- Danny Barrett (Buffalo OC)
- Erik Campbell (Iowa WR Coach)
- Joe Moorhead (UConn OC)
- Terry Malone (New Orleans Saints TE Coach),
- Byran Harsin (Boise State OC)
- Vance Bedford (Florida DB Coach)
- Jay Norvell (Oklahoma Co-OC)
- Scot Loeffler (Florida QB Coach)
Ill start digging into them tomorrow.