New York Giants make Ontario-born Brian Daboll the second Canadian head coach in NFL history

Photo courtesy: New York Giants

The New York Giants have hired Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as the 20th head coach in franchise history, but the new bench boss has a little known connection to the great white north as well.

The 46-year old Daboll was born in Welland, Ontario, before moving to nearby West Seneca, New York to be raised by his grandparents. According to ESPN Stats, that makes Daboll just the second Canadian-born head coach in the history of the NFL.

Prior to Daboll, the only Canadian to serve as head coach was the British Columbia-born, Michigan-raised Tommy Hughitt, who was the player coach of the Buffalo All-Americans/Bisons from 1920 to 1924.

While Hughitt beat him to the punch by more than a century, Daboll brings an impressive coaching resume with him to the Big Apple. A former safety at the University of Rochester, he began as a volunteer at William & Mary in 1997 and later served as a graduate assistant at Michigan State.

He made the jump to the NFL in 2000 with the New England Patriots under new head coach Bill Belichick, rising from a defensive assistant to wide receivers coach in seven seasons. He would go on to become quarterbacks coach with the New York Jets, before stints as an offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs.

Daboll returned to New England in 2013 as a tight ends coach for three seasons, after which former colleague Nick Saban came knocking. Daboll became offensive coordinator for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide in 2017, using it as a launch pad to the same job with the Buffalo Bills.

During his time coaching, Daboll has won five Super Bowls and a College Football National Championship. In 2020, he was named the NFL’s Assistant Coach of the Year for overseeing the development of Bills quarterback Josh Allen into one of the best players in the league.