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."