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Bill Polian recommended Doug Marrone to whomever listened

By Tim Graham

Before Doug Marrone became Buffalo Bills head coach, he received a blessing from one of his famous fellow Mount St. Michael Academy alums.

"I gave his name to any owner who asked about a potential head coach," Bill Polian said. "Clearly, I wasn't the only one."

Marrone was a candidate for multiple NFL coaching vacancies before agreeing to leave Syracuse University and take over the Bills.

Polian noted he wasn't involved in the Bills' coaching search. He certainly approved of the Bills' choice, though.

"Russ Brandon made the pick, but I certainly think it's a good one," Polian said. "I'll be rooting for him."

Polian attended Mount St. Michael Academy in the Bronx a few decades before Marrone, but the architect of Buffalo's four Super Bowl teams said he has gotten to know Marrone quite well.

"We haven't seen each other much since he's gone to Syracuse because I didn't have occasion to watch them play, and I don't like to bug guys when they have a job to do," Polian said. "They got enough to worry about without talking to me. But I've been following him and rooting for him all along."

Polian said he and legendary Syracuse coach Dick MacPherson had talked "about how enthusiastic both of us were about [Marrone's] prospects as a head coach, and thankfully we turned out to be right."

Marrone's record at Syracuse was a modest 25-25, but the program was in shambles when he arrived. The turnaround is viewed by Central New York sports fans as one step short of a miracle.

"I'm very happy for him. I think he's a heck of a good, young coach," Polian said. "His values are impeccable. His coaching philosophy is impeccable. He came into Syracuse and straightened out what was an awfully difficult situation very quickly."

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |