Brian Daboll grew up in West Seneca, minutes from New Era Field. He played football at St. Francis High and then the University of Rochester.
A neck injury suddenly ended his career in college, but that same injury may be the reason he’s in charge of the Bills offense now.
Daboll recently sat down with News 8 Sports Director Thad Brown to discuss his childhood in Buffalo, how he ended up back in Buffalo and lessons learned from great coaches along the way.
Thad: What were the goals and the dreams of high school Brian Daboll?
Brian Daboll: That’s a great question. I was one of those guys that just worked as hard as I could work, tried to do as good as I could do. I think that was instilled into me by my grandmother and my grandfather at a young age. Do it the right way. Work hard and have high goals. Was it to be a coordinator in the National Football League at such a young age? I just wanted to be a success. Do right by my family. Represent my family the right way.
Thad: What kind of a football player were you? How would you describe yourself as a player?
Daboll: I was a hard working guy. Tried to play it the right way. Tough and smart.
Thad: All that work, all that time you put in and then, it’s suddenly taken away from you in college. How hard was that for you to just digest?
Daboll: Yeah, it was tough. It was tough. 5-foot-8 and a half, 5-foot-9. Knew it wasn’t going much further. To be able to stay on and help with those guys my senior year was really the start of wanting to do this.
Thad: Was there a thought about coaching before that happened?
Daboll: You know, never did. Never did. I majored in economics and finance and was thinking about going in that direction. When that happened… just to be around… I didn’t want to go to work in a suit and a tie every day to start out. Just was a great experience there that led me down to the next experience at William and Mary.
Thad: You’ve worked for some great coaches in your career, but Bill Belichick specifically. What was the best part about working under him?
Daboll: There was a lot. He’s great for a reason. He’s detailed. He’s demanding. He expects everybody within the organization to do it the right way. To give your best and control what you can control. His leadership style is excellent.
Thad: Your career down the road. Are there head coaching goals in your future?
Daboll: Sure. Without question, but I think the thing you learn in this business is you got to take one week at a time and one game at a time and do the very best you can do and things have to fall in line for you. But absolutely.
Daboll’s grandparents still live in his childhood home right down the road from New Era Field. About Buffalo, he says, “I really love this place. It’s a great home.”