BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills promoted Russ Brandon to the new post of chief operating officer on Saturday as team owner Ralph Wilson elected to not formally fill the general manager's position following Marv Levy's departure.
Brandon, previously the team's executive vice president of business operations, will now be responsible for overseeing the team's day-to-day operations, including football.
"It was my experience over the years that our greatest opportunity for success comes when we promote from within our own organization," Wilson said in a statement. "So I have decided that the responsibilities of the general manager's position will be handled from within, and we will not go outside the organization."
In his 11 years in Buffalo, Brandon has been credited for expanding the team's fan base by marketing the Bills as a regional western New York franchise. He was particularly responsible for the team moving its training camp from rural Fredonia to suburban Rochester in 2000.
The move not only helped the Bills draw larger crowds, but also secured numerous marketing arrangements with Rochester's corporate community.
The Bills under Brandon's lead have since set their sights on expanding their base north to Toronto. The team is awaiting NFL approval to play one regular-season and preseason game in Toronto starting this year.
"What I feel we need is a person with Russ Brandon's proven leadership to pull it all together," said Wilson, who retains the title as team president. "He has worked very closely with me over the years, and I am comfortable that he is up to the task."
Wilson also promoted pro personnel director John Guy and assistant general manager/chief college scout Tom Modrak, awarding both of them the title of vice president.
The reorganization comes after Levy stepped down as general manager last week, when his two-year contract expired at the end of the season. Levy, who took over after team president Tom Donahoe was fired following the 2005 season, was credited for bringing stability to the front office.
The Bills are coming off their second consecutive 7-9 finish, and haven't made the playoffs in eight seasons, the longest drought in franchise history.
As GM, Levy didn't have an actual defined role, as contracts were handled by team vice president Jim Overdorf, while coach Dick Jauron had control over personnel decisions.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press