ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Chan Gailey didn’t work out after three losing seasons, leaving the BuffaloBills looking for their fifth head coach since 2001.
The Bills fired Gailey on Monday after he failed to deliver on his vow to transform a losing franchise into a playoff contender. Gailey’s entire staff was fired, too, but the status of general manager Buddy Nix remained uncertain.
Gailey’s teams lost twice as many games as they won, going 16-32 over three seasons. The Bills have now posted eight straight losing seasons, and closed with a second straight 6-10 mark after beating the New York Jets 28-9 on Sunday.
“I understand this is a business,” said Gailey, who had at least one year left on his contract. “We didn’t get the job done.”
Gailey spoke for a little over a minute. He declined to take questions, while growing emotional at one point. Among the assistants fired were assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt.
“I’ve been called two other times to get things turned around, was able to do it,” Gailey said, referring to previous stops with Dallas (1998-99) and Georgia Tech (2002-07). “We weren’t able to get this one done soon enough, and I understand that completely.”
It was a disappointing finish for a team that had much higher aspirations. The Bills spent much of the past 14 months securing their best player, re-signing receiver Stevie Johnson and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to lucrative multiyear contracts.
The spending spree reached its peak in March, when they signed defensive end Mario Williams to a six-year, $100 million contract.
“It’s always disappointing,” said defensive tackle Kyle Williams, one of the only players left in the locker room when the team announced Gailey’s firing.
What frustrates Williams more is how the Bills keep making changes without getting any results.
“I get tired of losing,” Williams said. “More than anything, I get tired of putting in tons and tons of work. And it’s hard sitting here talking to you guys at the end of December feeling like another one kind of slipped through your fingers.”
What’s next remains unclear. Nix was at the team’s facility Monday, but he nor the team provided any indication as to whether he’ll be retained.
Gailey’s dismissal is a significant setback for Nix. The general manager announced in November that Gaileywasn’t going anywhere, because another coaching change would stunt the team’s development.
The Bills, however, closed by losing seven of their final 10 games.
Bills owner Ralph Wilson had initially backed Nix’s build-through-the-draft approach. Three years ago, the 94-year-old owner said he expected the rebuilding process could take as long as five years.