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January 7, 2013

Bills hire Doug Marrone as new head coach

“Exhaustive” search promised, but it took less than a week.

ORCHARD PARK —  

It's official: Doug Marrone is the new Buffalo Bills' head coach.

The franchise released the announcement via text message on Monday, and a news conference at the team's facility followed.

Hired after going 25-25 in four seasons at Syracuse, Marrone agreed to the contract on Sunday. The 48-year-old from the Bronx takes over a week after Chan Gailey was fired following three consecutive losing seasons.

Marrone becomes the Bills' fifth coach in 12 years, and inherits a franchise that newly promoted team president Russ Brandon described as having a "tarnished" reputation.

"We went through an exhaustive and exhilarating search in hiring the right man to build the future and culture of a winning franchise," Brandon said, noting that the Bills and Marrone met as many as five times over the past week. "And we believe we just did that."

Buffalo's 13-season playoff drought is the NFL's longest active streak, and the team has not had a winning record since 2004, when it finished 9-7.

Marrone, who also interviewed with the Cleveland Browns last week, said his first choice was Buffalo in noting the numerous ties he's had to New York. Aside from coaching the Orange, Marrone was an offensive lineman at Syracuse in the 1980s.

"I had said that the Syracuse job was my dream job, and I meant what I said, and having had the opportunity to restore the great tradition of Syracuse football a reality," Marrone said. "Today, I'm experiencing another dream come true. ... I've chosen to be here. I can't tell you how excited I am."

Marrone is described as a no-nonsense disciplinarian. He has seven seasons of NFL coaching experience as an assistant. That includes serving as the New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator from 2006-08. He also spent 2002-05 as the New York Jets offensive line coach.

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