New Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley watches the NFL football team work out in Orchard Park, N.Y., on May 14. (AP Photo/The Buffalo News, Harry Scull Jr.

by John Wawrow

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Former Pitt star, Steelers exec and Upper St. Clair native Doug Whaley was promoted to take over as Buffalo Bills general manager, making the team’s near top-to-bottom offseason overhaul complete.

Whaley, who is Black, snaps an NFL trend this offseason during which no minorities were hired to fill eight coaching and seven general manager vacancies. He becomes the Bills first Black GM and the league’s sixth.

The much-anticipated decision to elevate Whaley from his position as assistant GM was announced Thursday, three days after Buddy Nix stepped down as GM.

The 40-year-old Whaley has spent the past three years being groomed for the job. After working in various scouting capacities with the Bills, Whaley’s influence grew this offseason. He had input in hiring coach Doug Marrone in January, and in the team’s decision to select Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel in the first round of the draft last month.

From Pittsburgh, he spent 12 seasons working in various capacities as a scout with the Steelers.

Whaley played both linebacker and safety at Pitt and broke into the NFL in 1995 as a Steelers pro personnel assistant. He then spent three years as a scout with the Seattle Seahawks, before returning to Pittsburgh.

He’s leaning heavily on his experiences with the Steelers, one of the NFL’s most stable and competitive franchises.

“My formative years in this business were being part of the Steelers, and the one thing that the Steeler organization is all about is championships,” Whaley said. “They don’t accept losing. They set the standard of winning and competing for championships. And I think if we instill that here, we’ll be in the right direction.”

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