It was exactly a week removed from being informed by Terry and Kim Pegula that he was going to be the 13th general manager in Bills history, but the news he received Monday gave him exactly the same feeling.
“I’m floating,” said Bills GM Brandon Beane.
That’s because Beane not only achieved one of his top goals in putting together his personnel department, he doubled down and came up aces.
A day after officially getting Joe Schoen to sign on as Assistant general manager, he landed Houston Director of Player Personnel Brian Gaine as Buffalo’s new Vice President of Player Personnel.
“I’ll be honest with you,” Beane told Buffalobills.com. “I had hoped to get one of these two guys and I got them both. It was no guarantee I could get either one of them, but to get them both… I’m floating as much as when I got the job. I’m happy for them.”
If Gaine’s name sounds familiar it should. He was one of four candidates to interview for Buffalo’s general manager post along with Beane. Some might be hesitant to hire a person seen as a potential equal by ownership, but Beane didn’t flinch.
“Some people would probably be scared of that, but I’m not,” Beane said. “The reason I’m not is Brian is a good man. I’ve known Brian for five or six years. I’ve talked ball with him. We’ve never been on the same staff. He’s a guy I’ve rooted for from afar.
“To be honest if I didn’t get this position I would’ve rooted for him. He has New York ties. He knows this division. I think it was good for his family.
“I took a shot in the dark that he would want to do this because it’s generally a pretty lateral move, but Brian was excited about building this and starting this. I think partnering with me and Joe was attractive. I know Brian and who he is to the core and trust that he’s going to be a big time asset.”
While Beane was quick to give credit to Houston Texans GM Rick Smith for letting Gaine make what essentially is a lateral move to a different NFL club, the position appealed to Gaine for a number of reasons.
The Pearl River, New York native is a lot closer to his three of his four older brothers, who all live in the New York metropolitan area. Already having a firm grasp of the team’s owners in Terry and Kim Pegula from his interview with them also helped provide him with confidence that this new front office team with Beane and Schoen would be given every resource needed to succeed.
As Beane explains his new front office hierarchy, Schoen will be his right hand man as Assistant GM. Gaine will fall right underneath Schoen and sit third in charge of the football side of the house.
“With us hiring Brian Gaine those two are going to collaborate a lot,” said Beane. “But Joe will directly oversee him. Joe will be more of my right hand guy. He’s going to be in player contract discussions where we’re going to sign a guy. He’s going to be in everything. He’s going to be helping me with staff all over football operations. He’s going to be in medical meetings. He and Brian are going to work on the personnel, but Brian falls under Joe.”
Beane, who was instrumental in Schoen’s hiring in Carolina as a scouting coordinator, before he worked his way up to area scout, was happy to get the chance to work with Schoen again after he spent the last nine years in the Miami organization.
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Buffalo’s GM still remember the day in 2008 when new Miami GM Jeff Ireland called as he was beginning to put together his staff and asked to hire Schoen having crossed paths with him on the college scouting trail and wanted to make him one of his national scouts. Beane, in Carolina at the time, had two quality national scouts and there was nowhere for Schoen to further advance with the Panthers.
“The point of view I have is either you put them in that role or you let them grow and move on,” Beane said. “So we let Joe go in 2008 and to his credit he continued to work up and three years ago he became Director of Player Personnel. I think you have to give the Dolphins credit. They’ve done some good things with him since he’s been there. He’s going to be a great fit for us.”
For the first six of Schoen’s nine years with the Dolphins organization he worked with Gaine, who was first hired by Ireland as Assistant Director of Player Personnel before he was promoted to Director in 2011 and Assistant GM in 2012, before moving on to Houston in 2013.
Between the three newest members of Buffalo’s front office there is more than 50 combined years of front office and personnel experience. As seasoned as all three men are there was a shared enthusiasm for building the Bills roster together.
Both Gaine and Schoen are moving their families to Buffalo to make this new partnership work.
Beane is up front about trying to give Schoen more opportunities to broaden his career profile as well as Gaine. He realizes that may only serve to hasten their exit from Buffalo to soon take on general manager positions of their own. But he’d rather have their expertise aiding in his task of building Buffalo’s roster into a perennial contender as long as he can than not at all.
“This is going to be big for both of those guys,” Beane said. “We’re going to build this thing right and I see both of these guys eventually getting the opportunity to sit in the seat I’m in.”