Saturday, May 30, 2015

1974 Profile: Eddie Abramoski

"Since their formation in 1960, the Buffalo Bills have had only one trainer- Eddie Abramoski. An outstanding high school guard in his hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania, Abramoski went to Purdue University on a football scholarship. A back injury, which required surgery, wrote an early end to his playing career and led to an interest in becoming an athletic trainer.
Following graduation, Eddie landed his first training job at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. He later moved to the University of Detroit as head trainer. While in Detroit, he moonlighted as a trainer with the Lions. He struck up an acquaintance with Detroit assistant coach Buster Ramsey, who took Abe with him to Buffalo when he was named the first head coach of the Bills in 1960."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Monday, May 25, 2015

1974 Profile: Elbert Dubenion

Talent Scout
"The Bills' career leader in every pass receiving category is Elbert 'Golden Wheels' Dubenion, one of the most popular players ever to wear a Buffalo uniform. Dubenion, a member of the 1960 club, retired as a player midway through the 1968 season to accept a full-time position with the scouting department. He was the last remaining member of the original Bills.
In his eight seasons as a player, Dubenion caught 296 passes for 5,424 yards and 36 touchdowns. All are Buffalo lifetime highs as are his marks of touchdown receptions in five consecutive games and pass receptions in 42 straight appearances. Duby is second to Cookie Gilchrist in Bills career scoring but ranks as the club's leader in touchdowns with 39.
A Little All-America at Bluffton College in 1958, Dubenion set a school record with 53 touchdowns in his four varsity seasons. He signed with the Browns in 1959 but was injured at the College All-Star camp. He was an instant success with the fledgling Bills in 1960, winning MVP honors his first season."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Saturday, May 23, 2015

1974 Profile: Bob Celeri

Talent Scout
"California's Golden Bears reached the Rose Bowl in 1949 and 1950 thanks in large measure to the performance of All-America quarterback Bob Celeri. As an undergraduate at Cal, Celeri won four varsity letters with a two-year break in between for service in the U.S. Navy.
After playing in the 1950 Hula Bowl game, Celeri reported to the San Francisco 49ers, who had made him a high draft choice. Later traded to the New York Yankees, he first met Harvey Johnson, with whom he traveled a parallel path over the next 10 years. Bob moved from Dallas, where the Yankees had relocated, to Hamilton of the CFL in 1953, and a year later went to Kitchener where he quarterbacked six years and was a four-time MVP.
Leaving in 1960 to become head coach at Waterloo Lutheran University, he remained until joining Johnson with the Bills in 1968. Celeri became a permanent member of the Buffalo personnel department in 1969 and served as its interim director when Johnson returned to coaching during the 1971 season."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Friday, May 22, 2015

1974 Profile: Harvey Johnson

Director of Player Personnel
"Harvey Johnson was a member of the Buffalo Bills' original coaching staff and has served the club in a variety of positions, including head coach on two separate occasions. Defensive backfield skipper in 1960-61, Harvey was first appointed Director of Player Personnel in 1962, succeeding Lou Saban when Lou took over the football program. Harvey was Buffalo's head coach for 12 games of the 1968 season, following the abrupt dismissal of Joe Collier, and for the entire 1971 campaign.
A product of William & Mary, Johnson played for the Bainbridge Naval Training Center from 1943-45. A draft choice of the All-America Conference New York Yankees, Johnson played regularly in the pros as a defensive back but earned his principal recognition as a placement specialist, once stringing together 146 consecutive conversions.
Harvey remained with the New York franchise when it joined the NFL in 1950 but retired as a player in 1953 to take an assistant coaching job with the Hamilton Tiger Cats. He became head coach of the Kitchener team (Rugby Football Union) in 1954 and guided them to four titles in as many years. He left Kitchener to coach with the Montreal Alouettes from 1958-59."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

1974 Profile: Bob Shaw

Receivers Coach
"Bob Shaw, ex-Ohio State University athlete and veteran professional coach, works with the Bills' pass receivers. Shaw moved to Buffalo in 1972 from Chicago where he and Jim Ringo were members of the Bears' staff.
An All-America in football and basketball at Ohio State, Shaw was an end for Paul Browns' Buckeyes in the early 1940's, about the same time a quarterback named Lou Saban was starring for Indiana. Bob was selected to the All-Big Ten Conference first team and named to play in the College All-Star game.
He played professionally with the old Cleveland Rams and went to Los Angeles with them where he stayed until 1949. Traded to the Chicago Cardinals in 1950, Bob finished his career in the Windy City.
His coaching experience includes tours as a college and junior college mentor, several years as a pro assistant, and two different jobs as a head coach in the Canadian League. Shaw was a high school coach in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio at the time he was named receiver coach of the Baltimore Colts in 1957. He worked for two years in Baltimore before going to the 49ers in 1959. From 1960-62, Shaw was head football coach and athletic director at New Mexico Military Institute where his most prized product was Dallas Cowboy quarterback Roger Staubach. He became head coach at Saskatchewan of the CFL in 1963 and switched to Toronto two years later. Bob was on the staff of the New Orleans Saints during the 1967-68 seasons and went to the Bears in 1969."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

1974 Profile: Jim Ringo

Offensive Line Coach
"When the Green Bay Packers were the terrors of professional football, Jim Ringo was the Pack's captain and center. An All-Pro eight times and a Pro Bowl choice ten times, Ringo played in three consecutive NFL championship games. He was a member of he Pack's 1961 and 1962 title teams. Over 15 years, Ringo appeared in 182 straight games, establishing a new NFL record for endurance. Traded by the Packers after 11 seasons, he played four years for the Philadelphia Eagles before retiring in 1967.
Ringo won All-East acclaim at Syracuse University where he was a center and linebacker under Ben Schwartzwalder, and played in the 1953 Orange Bowl game. A seventh round draft choice of the Packers, Ringo was a key figure in the franchise's rise from also-ran to champion. He was Green Bay captain for eight seasons and was named to the Packer Hall of Fame in 1973.
Ringo entered pro coaching with the Chicago Bears in 1969. After three seasons in Chicago, Lou Saban hired Ringo and charged him with development of the Bills' offensive line. The payoff to Ringo's two years of building came this past fall when Buffalo cracked the NFL rushing record established by Miami in 1972 and became the first professional team ever to gain more than 3,000 yards on the ground."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Sunday, May 17, 2015

1974 Profile: John Ray

Linebacker Coach
"John Ray's varied coaching career includes experience at every level of the game- high school, college and professional.
A native of South Bend, Indiana, Ray has been closely associated with Notre Dame, as a student and football center for one year (1944) and for five seasons as an assistant coach. When his college education was interrupted by Army Service in World War II, Ray transferred from Notre Dame to Olivet College, where he received his B.A. degree in 1950.
Upon graduation, Ray immediately accepted a job as assistant football coach at Sturgis (Michigan) High School and, two years later, a head coaching position at Three Rivers (Michigan) High. Named to the University of Detroit staff in 1955, Ray served as an assistant for four seasons before becoming head coach at John Carroll University in Cleveland. His five-year record of 29-6 included three undefeated seasons and a string of six national defensive marks.
Ray left to join Ara Parseghian at Notre Dame, helping assemble the Irish's 1966 National Championship squad. He was Irish defensive coordinator for five seasons and assistant head coach, as well, for two. In December 1968, Ray was chosen head football coach at the University of Kentucky. He rebuilt the Wildcats' sagging football fortunes and , in the process, scored major upsets over Mississippi and Kansas State.
Ray became the Bills linebacker coach last season."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Saturday, May 16, 2015

1974 Profile: Stan Jones

Defensive Line Coach
"An All-America tackle at the University of Maryland, where he played on Jim Tatum's 1953 national champions, Stan Jones has been a coaching companion of Lou Saban's since 1967 when he joined Lou's Denver Bronco staff. Moving to Buffalo with Saban in 1972, Jones has responsibility for the Bills' defensive line.
During his varsity career at Maryland, Jones appeared in the Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl and College All-Star Game. The Terrapin All-America was runner-up in the 1953 balloting for the Outland Trophy.
Picked by the Chicago Bears in the third round of the 1954 collegiate draft, Jones played 12 years in Chicago, nine years as an offensive guard and three as a defensive tackle. Captain of the Bears for three seasons, Stan was named to the All-Pro team four times and played in seven NFL Pro Bowl games. He closed out his career with the Washington Redskins in 1966.
Jones got his start in pro coaching at Denver, where he also handled the defensive line. In five seasons, he developed such Bronco standouts as Lyle Alzado, Pete Duranko, Rich Jackson and Paul Smith before leaving for Buffalo."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Thursday, May 14, 2015

1974 Profile: Ed Cavanaugh

Special Assignments Coach
"Ed Cavanaugh was in college coaching for almost 20 years, four of them as football skipper at Idaho State University (1968-71). In a career that began in 1954, Cavanaugh also served as a collegiate assistant at Kansas State (1954-58), the University of Arizona (1959-66) and Utah State (1967).
An offensive lineman for the legendary Wallace Wade at Duke University, Cavanaugh graduated in 1951 after winning two football letters for the Blue Devils. He entered the Navy after leaving Duke and became player/coach at the Bainbridge (MD) Naval Training Center.
Following separation from the service, Ed took a job as assistant football coach at Petersburg (VA) High School. He was head freshman coach for three years and offensive line mentor for two at Kansas State, served as line coach for eight seasons at Arizona and was appointed offensive coordinator at Utah State in 1967. A four-year tenure as head coach at Idaho State followed.
Cavanaugh's Buffalo responsibilities include the kicking and punting games and the handling of the Bills' special teams."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

1974 Profile: Bill Atkins

Defensive Backs Coach
"An All-Pro defensive back for the Bills in the early 1960's, Bill Atkins gave up the twin responsibilities of football coach and athletic director at Troy State (AL) to become part of Lou Saban's Buffalo staff in 1972.
A fullback, linebacker, punter and kickoff specialist, Atkins was an All-Conference choice and MVP of Auburn University's 1957 National Champions. He set school records for touchdowns (11) and points (84) in a single season. Bill was chosen to play in the North-South Shrine game, Senior Bowl and College All-Star game at the conclusion of his undergraduate career.
A third round draft choice of the San Francisco 49ers, Atkins played two seasons in the NFL before signing with the Bills in 1960. He had his best year in 1961 when he led the Bills in pass interceptions with 10 and punting with a 45.0 average. Both are still club records. He was named to the AFL All-Pro squad and participated in the 1961 League all-star game. Atkins also won the NFA Third Down Award, made on the basis of a vote by his Buffalo teammates.
Traded to the Jets in 1963, Bill was back briefly with Buffalo in 1964 before finishing up his playing career in Denver. He was appointed head coach and athletic director at Jordan High School in Columbus, Georgia in 1965, and a year later went to Troy State."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Monday, May 11, 2015

1974 Profile: Lou Saban

Vice-President and Head Coach
"I've never had the luxury of taking on a club that has had success. It's a challenge to build a club ..."
-Lou Saban

"A glance at Lou Saban's career in coaching reflects his fascination with building football teams. He has done it in Buffalo twice.
Originally appointed skipper of the Bills in 1962, Saban took the young American Football League franchise to the top in just two seasons. With Saban at the controls, Buffalo dominated the AFL in 1964 and 1965.
Lou left to accept a college coaching job in 1966, and after one more successful season (a mark of 9-5-1 in 1966) the Bills drifted into a quagmire of losses. From 1967-71, Buffalo won only 13 games and wrote its major headlines by making O.J. Simpson and Walt Patulski the NFL's top draft choices in 1969 and 1972 respectively.
In the two short years since his return, Saban has taken the Bills from NFL doormat to the doorstep of the postseason playoffs. Despite a deluge of crippling injuries, the Bills won four games in 1972. The about-face was even more abrupt last fall when Saban orchestrated a 9-5 record. The Bills narrowly missed making the AFC's final four, losing a playoff berth on the season's final Sunday.
'Having Saban back,' Buffalo Evening News reporter Larry Felser has written, 'is one of the reasons that going to football games is fun once again for Buffalo fans.'
Saban has experienced spectacular success with the Bills. While Buffalo's cumulative record in the 14 years of the franchise is under .500, Lou's personal mark is 51-32-4, a winning percentage of .609. Only one of his clubs finished with a less than break-even season and his 1964 AFL champions reeled off 13 triumphs, still the Bills' best effort ever.
Born in Brookfield, Illinois, Saban was a single-wing quarterback at the University of Indiana under Bo McMillan. Captain of the Hoosiers, he was the team's MVP in 1942. His collegiate playing career was cut short by World War II. Saban served in the Army for four years, much of it as a Chinese language interpreter in the China-Burma theatre.
Returning from service, Saban caught on as a free agent with the fledgling Cleveland Browns of the infant All-American Football Conference. He played linebacker for Paul Brown's powerhouse teams of the late '40s, appearing in four consecutive Conference championship games and earning a berth on league all-star teams in both 1948 and 1949.
Captain of the Browns' undefeated (14-0) 1948 squad, Saban intercepted 13 passes in his four-year playing career. In addition to linebacker, he was also Otto Graham's backup at quarterback although, 'thankfully,' as Lou puts it, 'Otto was able to play most of the time.' Injuries to both shoulders forced Saban to retire following the 1949 season.
First stop on a coaching career that now spans 25 years was Case Institute in Cleveland, where Saban directed the football program for three seasons (1950-52). He moved to the University of Washington as an assistant in 1953 and to Northwestern in the same capacity a year later. Named head coach of the Wildcats in 1955, Saban left Evanston after one season and spent the next year in private business.
Western Illinois University beckoned in 1957 and Saban accepted the assignment of rebuilding the Leathernecks' football fortunes. He did it in dramatic fashion, taking Western from a 5-4 record in his rookie season to an unbeaten 9-0 mark in 1959.
His success at Western Illinois attracted the attention of the Boston Patriots, who selected Saban as the first coach of the new American Football League club. The Patriots won five games in their initial season and were 2-3 after five weeks of the 1961 campaign when Saban was replaced by Mike Holovak.
Ralph Wilson promptly hired Lou as the Bills' Director of Player Personnel, and a year later (1962) gave him the Buffalo coaching job. The move paid off with AFL titles in 1964 and 1965, back-to-back AFL Coach of the Year citations for Saban, and a flood of Buffalo victories.
A yearn to return to college coaching took Saban to Maryland in 1966, but a year later he was back in professional football as general manager-head coach of the Denver Broncos. The Broncos' stock rose steadily on the field and off under Saban's imaginative leadership. His effort was instrumental in a $1.8 million stadium renovation and his judgement of player personnel laid the foundation for the Broncos' recent successes.
Saban's triumphant return to Buffalo quickened the pulses of victory-hungry Bills fans. 'The Buffalo Bills,' one writer put it, 'are pinning their hopes on the second coming of their very own messiah.'"

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Sunday, May 10, 2015

1974 Profile: Budd Thalman

Vice-President, Public Relations
"The newest member of the Bills' administrative family, Budd Thalman came to the Buffalo organization last July after spending 11 years as Sports Information Director at the U.S. Naval Academy.
A native of Wheeling, West Virginia, he is a 1957 journalism graduate of West Virginia University. He worked for one year in the Associated Press bureau in Huntington, West Virginia before entering the Army where he served from 1958-60 as Public Information Officer for Fort Jay, Governor's Island, New York.
Thalman returned to the AP in 1960, transferring to the Annapolis, Maryland bureau. He went to the Naval Academy in January 1962."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Saturday, May 9, 2015

1974 Profile: Jim Cipriano

Ticket Director
"Tickets have always been Jim Cipriano's business. Starting with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad following World War II service in the U.S. Marine Corps, later with the Pennsylvania Railroad and the University of Pittsburgh athletic department, Cipriano has accumulated almost 30 years of experience in his profession. The likable native of Youngstown, Ohio was named Bills Ticket Director in April 1969.
Prior to his Buffalo appointment, Cipriano was Assistant Business Manager of Athletics for 12 years at the University of Pittsburgh. While at Pitt, he attended evening classes for six years to earn his Bachelor of Business Administration degree."

-1974 Buffalo Bills Yearbook

Thursday, May 7, 2015

1974 Profile: Pat McGroder

"An early champion of Buffalo's AFL franchise was Patrick J. McGroder, the city's sports coordinator at the time Ralph Wilson brought the young Bills to Western New York. At Wilson's insistence, McGroder joined the club's front office in 1962 as Vice-President and a member of the Board of Directors. The longtime Buffalo native serves as the organization's advertising sales coordinator and handles other special duties at the management level.
McGroder attended St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute and Hutchinson High School, and Canisuius and Chattanooga Colleges. He founded McKinley Liquor Company in 1942 after achieving the position of National Sales Representative for W.A. Taylor Importers. McGroder was the Buffalo Athletic Club's Sportsman of the Year in 1955 and winner of the Chamber of Commerce 'Good Government Award' three years later. His efforts in promoting professional football games for Buffalo nearly enabled him to secure an NFL franchise for the city.
He has remained fast friends with such legendary pro football figures as George Halas of Chicago and Art Rooney of Pittsburgh. In addition to sports coordinator, McGroder also served as Buffalo Parks Commissioner and President of the Police Athletic League."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

1974 Profile: Bob Lustig

Vice-President and General Manager
"Bills Vice-President and General Manager Bob Lustig has been an associate of Owner Ralph Wilson since 1948. When Wilson became one of the original members of the newly-born American Football League in 1960, he entrusted Lustig with the responsibility for signing many of the players on the original Bills roster.
Four years later, Lustig was devoting himself full time to the Bills operation as a Vice-President and member of the Board of Directors. He took on the additional title of General Manager in 1967. In addition to directing the Buffalo organization's administrative, ticket and stadium operations, Lustig also represents the club at official League meetings and sits on the Board of Directors of National Football League Properties, Inc.
The Bills General Manager was a key figure in the drive for a new stadium to house Buffalo's NFL franchise- a dream finally realized last fall with the dedication of a magnificent 80,020-seat facility in Orchard, Park, New York.
'We built the stadium with the comfort of the fan as our foremost concern,' Lustig says. 'We feel we have the finest football facility in the league.'
Lustig was a baseball player on the American Legion level as a high school student in Detroit, and later as a freshman at the University of Detroit. His college career was interrupted by Army service in World War II, where he saw action in the European theater as a member of the 104th Infantry Division. He returned to Detroit following the war to complete his college education, then went to work for the Ralph Wilson Agency."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Sunday, May 3, 2015

1974 Profile: Ralph Wilson

President and Owner
"Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., only owner of the Buffalo Bills since their induction as one of the original members of the American Football League in 1960, was honored at the conclusion of the 1973 season by the Football News.
A weekly publication of national circulation, Football News named Wilson as Man of the Year. The newspaper said:
'Ralph Wilson's brilliant decisions kept his team in Buffalo, changed it from a loser to a winner, built a new stadium when the project looked impossible, led the NFL in actual attendance and made pro football's number one star happy to play for Buffalo. He has been a tower of strength in the administration of professional football.'
Previous winners of the award, which been had presented annually since 1969, were: Roone Arledge, sports chief of ABC Television; Jim Finks, general manager of the Minnesota Vikings; Joe Robbie, owner of the Miami Dolphins, and Dan Devine, head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Packers.
Wilson has been a resident of Detroit since moving there with his family as a youngster. He attended the University of Virginia as an undergraduate and was on active duty as a Naval officer during World War II, serving on minesweepers in the Pacific theatre.
Among many business pursuits, Wilson is president of the Ralph C. Wilson Insurance Agency and Motorcar, an auto transport business. His interest in sports, however, extends beyond football. He owns a stable of thoroughbred race horses, among them the recently successful 'West Coast Scout.' Wilson is an avid tennis player, skier and golfer.
From the inception of the Bills, Wilson has played a dynamic and active role in the organization. In an article prepared for the Sporting News, Milt Woodard, one-time Commissioner of the AFL, said of Wilson and the other AFL franchise founders:
'... every original AFL owner or his successor kept struggling against the odds. Whereas there were a few perennial losers ... during the earlier years, none threw in the towel. Nor, when a club was in trouble, did it fail to get help.'
With Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, Wilson worked diligently to bring about the AFL-NFL merger, finally achieved in 1966. Since then, he has been a viable force in the National Football League, serving as a member of the prestigious labor committee.
He is determined in his effort to bring two things- 'winning football and a Super Bowl trophy'- to the NFL faithful of Western New York."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook