Coach Forest Brings Experience to Buff State

Coach Forest Brings Experience to Buff State
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Coach Forest has helped mentor two NFL players in his coaching career in WR David Kircus and QB Tony Pike. He’s also played a big role on two Big East championship teams.
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Greg Forest will be taking over as the Buffalo State offensive coordinator following a 5-5 season where the Bengals won four of their last six games

After losing his offensive coordinator job with the University of Buffalo in 2010, Greg Forest decided to bring his wealth of experience to Buffalo State in an effort to help the Bengals’ football team rebuild their program.

Forest began his Buffalo State tenure as a volunteer coach at last year’s spring practices while looking at other opportunities for coaching jobs. In the end though, he decided to stay with the team as a quarterbacks coach in a part time situation.

Buffalo State started off slow as Forest was figuring out his role with the team, but as the Bengals season wore on, he grew more comfortable with the offense and made a switch at quarterback from Ryan Lehotsky to Casey Kacz. The Bengals ended their season on a high note, winning four of their last six games.

Heading into this season, Forest earned a promotion and will be making his debut as the Bengals’ offensive coordinator. He’ll bring 20 years of experience at the collegiate level.

“Greg sees the whole picture because he’s been involved in coaching virtually every position,” head coach Jerry Boyes said. “Greg has been fortunate to be with some pretty good head coaches too and that’s helped him formulate his philosophies and approaches to issues and situations and everything that comes along the road.”

Forest began his coaching career at Grandview Heights High School helping out with the freshmen team and eventually became a coach with the varsity team.

When he finished with his four-year high school coaching stint, Forest decided to finish college at Ohio Northern with the intent of earning a sports management degree. He originally wanted to try out for defensive back, but head coach Tom Kaczkowski convinced him to continue his coaching instead.

“He said well you can do one of two things,” Forest said. “You can either join the team where we have 150 guys coming out in August and be one of the 150 or if you’re really serious about coaching, I can use you as a coach because I have a spot where you can help us coach and get experience coaching. You can work on your degree at the same time and I’ll find some money for you.”

During his time at Ohio Northern, Forest needed an internship to finish his degree and after a failed attempt to land one with the Dallas Cowboys, he chose a half coaching and half athletic director internship with Grand Valley State where he would form coaching relationships with current Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly and current University of Buffalo head coach Jeff Quinn.

His internship with Grand Valley State ended up earning him an eleven-year tenure as the wide receivers coach on a two-time Division II national champion. During his time there, he also mentored the top five wide receivers in school history including three All-Americans and David Kircus, who was drafted into the NFL as a sixth round pick by the Detroit Lions.

“I pushed David all the time,” said Forest. “I talked about if this is really your goal, every second and every day that you’re not doing something else in your life, you better be working on that chance to make it to the NFL, especially after the season was over and he was training to audition for the NFL through his Pro Day.”

His success at Grand Valley State earned him a coaching job at Central Michigan where he would end up coaching the wide receivers, running backs and tight ends in separate years. His biggest achievement during his time there was helping Ontario Sneed rush for 1,065 yards in his freshman season.

Forest became the quarterbacks coach with Cincinnati following his three year stint with Central Michigan and helped mentor quarterbacks Ben Mauk who set a school season record with 31 touchdown passes and Tony Pike who was drafted into the NFL as a sixth round pick by the Carolina Panthers.

In his three year stint with Cincinnati, Forest will always be remembered for the 2008 season where he went through five different quarterbacks as the Bearcats won their first Big East championship before losing in the Orange Bowl to Virginia Tech. The following year, Cincinnati went 12-1, winning another Big East championship before losing their undefeated season in the Sugar Bowl to Florida.

The knowledge and experience Forest gained from his other coaching jobs should definitely benefit not only players, but the coaching staff as well.

“Having him around is better than any AFCL Clinic which is the biggest clinic in the country for football coaches,” wide receivers coach Matt Hanhold said. “It’s like having a huge clinic here every day. When he talks I’m like a human sponge. I’m writing down everything that he’s saying and learning from him. I think with some of the things that Greg has brought to the table, it will even further develop myself as a coach and the players that I work with. That championship way of going about your business and presenting it onto the field to the kids has really transferred over to a lot of our staff here.”