The search is on for the next coach for the New York Bulls.
The rumors will start to swirl as teams let go of their coach or a fan base begging for changes will throw around many names. Quinn was the second coach relieved of his duty in the 2014 season. The first one ironically was Charlie Weis who replaced Quinn predecessor Turner Gill at Kansas. SMU is also out a coach after June Jones' resignation.
Danny White, the athletic director for the Bulls, is not afraid to take chances to get results. To me it is not much of a risk to hire Bobby Hurley. A father who is a coaching legend, a hard working player who made himself an NCAA legend, and an NBA career unfortunately cut short with a bad car accident. White likes a top tier prior athlete to lead his teams.
I want Danny White to do the same thing with the football team. Except for one thing: I do not want a football coaches son to be the next coach at UB. I do not want Spurrier Jr. Many think they understand what Danny is going to do. Hire a person with a 'name'. A person who both hard core and average fans have heard of. Take the name and marry with the assumed bandwidth to be the head coach and help create a winning program.
One name that is being bantered around is Tyrone Wheatley.
Wheatley will have name recognition in Western New York or for that matter, any place in America. A quick glimpse at Mr. Wheatley's resume shows a star in high school on the track & gridiron in the metro Detroit area, a heart wrenching childhood losing his father to murder at a very young age and a stepfather to a heart attack, a mother who turned to the bottle when losing work, all speaking to Tyrone's character of the man he has become. He stayed local for college and had a great career for Michigan from '91-'94. Wheatley was a Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and is still in the top five not only at Michigan but the Big Ten in many categories. A first round draft choice of the New York Giants who had an average stint in the Meadowlands, he was picked up and cut by the Dolphins before finding himself and rejuvenating his career in Oakland. Wheatley has ties to the MAC serving as running backs coach at Eastern Michigan in 2009 and college ties to Upstate New York as the running backs coach at Syracuse. When Doug Marrone was named the head coach of the Bills in 2013, Wheatley was brought along, so the relocation package will be nil.
Recruiting - Pros. Tyrone is 42 years of age. Most fathers of players graduating high school are probably around 42 years of age. Tyrone will be able to walk into many houses other coaches cannot on the name he made for himself. Wheatley has been credited as being the driving force beyond the success with recruiting at Syracuse. If Tyrone can own New York city that would be a huge plus. He showed that he had success with the Orange.
Recruiting - Cons. Wheatley will own Michigan and Ohio. Is that the area that you want to own? No, we all know that the hot bed of recruiting is the South. Not to say that Wheatley could not recruit the South, but it is his lack of connections that will slow progress.
Lack of Experience - Pros of never being a head coach before at this level. Every coach started somewhere. Turner was never a head coach and he did more for UB than all other coaches combined.
"The issue with a lot of NFL guys is they might have played at the highest level, but they don't have any idea what it means to be a coach or what that job entails, and so they have a hard time relating to the (job), of being good teachers," English said. "A lot of guys can't do that, but Tyrone can."
Lack of Experience - Cons of never being a college coach before. We saw in Amherst the past four seasons that moving up from a coordinator's position to head coach is a giant step. It was too much of step for Quinn at this point in his coaching career. Tyrone has not even been a coordinator but a position coach at EMU, 'Cuse, and with the Bills. Tyrone did take a high school team from 0-9 to 8-1 while at that level.
Character - Cons. Lost focus while with the Giants. Was deemed a cancer by the media (overblown) to a head scratcher by his teammates. Given so many physical gifts, it frustrated many as to why Tyrone did not produce more. Tyrone's name was also linked to BALCO laboratories in the Bay Area who supplied substance enhancers to many athletes.
Character - Pros Tyrone elevated himself from a childhood I could not begin to fathom. Many of his issues in New York could have been family related - many family members moved to live with Tyrone. Tyrone after being cut by Dolphins after spending a week in training camp could have called it a career but went on to have a great run with the Raiders. Tyrone has a good family with a son who is a high school TE standout and narrowed his choice of schools to Alabama, USC, UCLA, Michigan, and Miami. No, I do not think that his son would stay in Buffalo to be coached by his father but stranger things have happened. My bet is USC.
Intangibles - Pros. Wheatley has been an active gatherer of football knowledge and is very smart man. He has worked under some solid coaches. He's a personable man who will connect with players, which is critical in today's football landscape. Tyrone should be enough of an X's and O's man but will need strong coordinators in order to achieve early success.
Intangibles - Cons. The Bulls have a real issue with lack of skill on the defensive side of the ball. The offense seems to be solid for the foreseeable future. For that issue alone, do you have to hire a defensive minded coach? Secondly, does Wheatley have connections to great assistant coaches? The entire Bills staff could be up for grabs at the end of the season but if not where does Tyrone find his staff? Lack of connections may hurt his interview versus other candidates.
My opinion is let Tyrone make the leap from a running back coach to offensive coordinator whether at the NFL level or in college. If Tyrone can handle the additional workload and management, then I could understand the calculated risk of hiring him as a head coach. Tyrone has a large name but needs some more seasoning. I do not doubt he could be a good coach but next season in Amherst might be premature.