Thomas Chandler Gailey Jr. (born January 5, 1952) is a former American football coach. Gailey has served as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, and Buffalo Bills.
Gailey previously served as offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins in 2000 and 2001, when the Dolphins posted consecutive 11–5 records. He was on the Pittsburgh Steelers staff from 1994 to 1997 when the Steelers won four straight AFC Central titles and coached in one Super Bowl (XXX). He was offensive coordinator in 1997 when Pittsburgh ranked sixth in the NFL in total offense and seventh in scoring. Gailey served as the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008 and three games of the 2009 preseason. His most recent job was as the offensive coordinator for the New York Jets.
Early life and education
Gailey was born in Gainesville, Georgia, in 1952. He attended Americus High School in Americus, Georgia, where he earned Eagle Scout honors, and a letterman in high school football, basketball, baseball, and golf. In football, he was an all-state selection as quarterback. Gailey graduated from Americus High School in 1970.
Gailey attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he was a three-year letterman for coach Doug Dickey's Florida Gators football team as a quarterback from 1971 to 1973. Gailey graduated from Florida with a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1974.
Troy State, Air Force, Troy
Gailey stayed with Florida as a graduate assistant for two years before taking his first actual coaching job as the secondary coach for the Troy Trojans of Troy State University in Troy, Alabama. After two seasons there, he spent four seasons with the U.S. Air Force Academy, including two as defensive coordinator under head coach Ken Hatfield. In 1983, he took over the head-coaching duties at Troy University, where he led the Trojans to a 12–1 record in 1984 en route to the Division II championship.
Professional leagues (1984–1992, 1994–2001)
Gailey moved to the NFL the next year, when the Denver Broncos signed him as a defensive assistant and special teams coach. The team made three Super Bowl appearances during his six-year tenure. In 1991, Gailey left the NFL to become the head coach of the Birmingham Fire of the World League of American Football, where the team made the playoffs in both years that he was coach.
After a one-year stint as head coach at Samford University, he returned to the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers. After starting off as coach for the wide receivers, then moved up to offensive coordinator for the 1996 and 1997 NFL seasons. The Steelers won their division all four years, and made one Super Bowl appearance.
In 1998, Gailey was hired to take over a struggling Dallas Cowboys squad, one that had faltered under Barry Switzer during his last year. Gailey's Cowboys won the NFC East in 1998, and made the playoffs under his two years at the reins, although they failed to win a playoff game. Gailey is the only Cowboys coach to make the playoffs every season with his team.
Gailey returned to the offensive coordinator role, this time with the Miami Dolphins for the 2000 and 2001 seasons.
Georgia Tech (2002–2007)
Gailey was hired by the Yellow Jackets in 2002 to replace George O'Leary, who left to become head coach at the University of Notre Dame (O'Leary infamously resigned at Notre Dame after only 5 days). In his first five years at Georgia Tech, he had compiled a 37–27 record. Georgia Tech went to bowl games each year under Gailey, and won two: the 2003 Humanitarian Bowl (a 52–10 win over the University of Tulsa), and the 2004 Champs Sports Bowl (a 51–14 victory over Syracuse University). Gailey compiled six winning seasons in six years at the helm. However, he never defeated Tech's biggest rival, the University of Georgia, never won the ACC, never went to a BCS bowl, never won more than nine games, and never finished in the top 25. The 2006 season was his most successful at Georgia Tech, winning the ACC Coastal Division, but losing his last three games to rival UGA, Wake Forest in the ACC Championship Game, and West Virginia in the Gator Bowl.
Gailey's name was mentioned for both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins head-coaching jobs following the 2006 season, two teams for which he was offensive coordinator. Gailey got neither job. On January 19, 2007, Gailey announced he would return to Georgia Tech.
After a 7–5 2007 regular season and losing to the Georgia Bulldogs football team for the sixth straight year, it was announced on November 26, 2007 that Gailey had been dismissed and his $1 million/year contract bought out.
Kansas City Chiefs (2008)
Gailey was hired on January 16, 2008, to become the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs. He inherited a Chiefs offense that ranked at the bottom of the league in almost every category the previous season. Under his coaching, the Chiefs finished with the 24th-ranked offense in the league. He was demoted after three pre-season games in 2009 and relieved of play-calling duties by head coach Todd Haley. He spent the 2009 season out of football.
Buffalo Bills (2010–2012)
Gailey was introduced as the 15th head coach of the Buffalo Bills on January 19, 2010, replacing interim head coach Perry Fewell and becoming their fifth head coach in 10 years. The Bills went 4-12 in his first season, with the 25th-ranked offense and 24th-ranked defense in the league. The following year, Buffalo ranked 14th in offense and 26th in defense as the Bills improved slightly to finish with a 6-10 record. In 2012, the Bills finished 19th in offense and 22nd in defense as they once again finished 6-10.
On December 31, 2012, Gailey was relieved of his duties as the Bills' head coach. He amassed a career 16–32 record in Buffalo.
New York Jets (2015–2016)
Gailey was named offensive coordinator by the New York Jets on January 20, 2015, under new head coach Todd Bowles. He was reunited with former Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
In his first season, the Jets finished with the 10th-ranked offense in the league. They finished 13th in the league in passing and 10th in rushing. Through Week 14 of the 2016 season, the Jets had the 24th-ranked offense in the league. Following the 2016 season in which the Jets ranked near the bottom of the league in offense and finished 5–11, Gailey retired on January 3, 2017.
Head coaching record
|Troy State Trojans (Gulf South Conference) (1983–1984)|
|1984||Troy State||12–1||6–1||1st||W NCAA Division II Championship|
|Samford Bulldogs (NCAA Division I-AA independent) (1993)|
|Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Atlantic Coast Conference) (2002–2007)|
|2002||Georgia Tech||7–6||4–4||T–5th||L Silicon Valley|
|2003||Georgia Tech||7–6||4–4||T–4th||W Humanitarian|
|2004||Georgia Tech||7–5||4–4||T–6th||W Champs Sports|
|2005||Georgia Tech||7–5||5–3||3rd (Coastal)||L Emerald|
|2006||Georgia Tech||9–5||7–1||1st (Coastal)||L Gator|
|2007||Georgia Tech||7–5||4–4||3rd (Coastal)||Humanitarian|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
National Football League
|Team||Year||Regular Season||Post Season|
|Won||Lost||Ties||Win %||Finish||Won||Lost||Win %||Result|
|DAL||1998||10||6||0||.625||1st in NFC East||0||1||.000||Lost to Arizona Cardinals in NFC Wild-Card Game.|
|DAL||1999||8||8||0||.500||2nd in NFC East||0||1||.000||Lost to Minnesota Vikings in NFC Wild-Card Game.|
|BUF||2010||4||12||0||.250||4th in AFC East||–||–||–||–|
|BUF||2011||6||10||0||.375||4th in AFC East||–||–||–||–|
|BUF||2012||6||10||0||.375||4th in AFC East||–||–||–||–|
World League of American Football
Record with Birmingham Fire
|1991||5||5||0||1st North American West||Lost Semifinals (Dragons)|
|1992||7||2||1||2nd North American West||Lost Semifinals (Thunder)|
NFL head coaches under whom Chan Gailey has served:
- Dan Reeves, Denver Broncos (1985–1990)
- Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh Steelers (1994–1997)
- Dave Wannstedt, Miami Dolphins (2000–2001)
- Herman Edwards, Kansas City Chiefs (2008)
- Todd Bowles, New York Jets (2015–2016)
Assistant coaches under Chan Gailey who became NCAA or NFL head coaches:
- Dave Campo, Dallas Cowboys (2000–2002)
- Geoff Collins: Temple (2017–present)