A week before being introduced as the 15th head coach of the Buffalo Bills, Chan Gailey was in his native Georgia serving as the lead speaker at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquet. The banquet was taking place in Toccoa, Georgia, the hometown of Bills Hall of Famer Billy Shaw, with Gailey doing the speaking engagement as a favor to Shaw. What Gailey shared with Shaw after his speech was some exciting information.
"After the banquet he shared with me that he was being interviewed for the head coaching job for the Bills," said Shaw. "He shared that with me in confidence so I didn't even tell my wife. I was so excited that it was a possibility for him because he is good people."
To see Gailey announced as the new head coach a week later was even better news as far as the Hall of Famer was concerned. Having seen Gailey in action as head coach of his alma mater for six years at Georgia Tech, Shaw believes he's just the kind of coach that the Bills need.
"On the coaching side I guarantee you he will bring discipline to the team," said Shaw. "They will be a disciplined group in terms of their play on the field. That impresses me a lot about him. His successes along the way have been documented as far as the offensive side of the ball is concerned. So I'm excited. I'm really excited."
Shaw and Gailey live all of 15 minutes away from one another, with the Bills Hall of Famer in Toccoa and Gailey in Clarksville. The two have been acquainted for years, with Gailey's time coaching the Yellow Jackets only serving to help maintain the relationship. The two often help each other with speaking engagements for their respective interests.
"Less than a week after he did the Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquet for me I spoke in his hometown for the Chamber of Commerce," said Shaw.
But Shaw is more excited about how Gailey will help the team whose colors he still wears proudly. Having seen the changes for the better he made at Tech, he's confident Gailey will do the same in Buffalo.
"They will be well schooled on both sides of the ball," said Shaw of the Bills under Gailey. "He has coached some teams whose quarterbacks were not household names in the NFL and he has taught them to play the game better than they have before. They will be knowledgeable. They won't be mistake free because nobody is mistake free, but from a consistency standpoint they will execute effectively. I personally think he's a great fit for the Bills at this particular time."
Shaw intends to be in Buffalo as he is every year for Alumni weekend, typically the first home game on the schedule. He'll be sure to check in with his fellow Georgian if he has time. But Shaw already has an idea as to just how busy Gailey will be.
"I tried to call him Tuesday when he was announced as head coach for about eight hours," said Shaw. "I'm sure everyone in the world was calling to wish him well and his mailbox was full. I finally got through to his cell phone voice mail at 8 pm that night to congratulate him."