Tonawanda News — Nolan also coached the New York Islanders from 2006-08. His current job is coach of the Latvian men's national team, a role he'll continue into the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
LaFontaine said Nolan was his first choice as coach in a move that reunited the two for a third time.
Nolan coached LaFontaine in Buffalo in 1995-96. And the two worked briefly together on Long Island in 2006, when LaFontaine spent six weeks as a senior adviser to Islanders owner Charles Wang.
Nolan has a reputation for being a motivator and has experience developing young players after coaching junior teams in Canada.
"I'd like to say there's nobody I know better who can work in a locker room and bring a group of players together," LaFontaine said.
LaFontaine said Nolan takes over on an interim basis, and that it will be up to the new general manager to determine whether to retain him.
The GM's job was initially offered to LaFontaine, who turned it down because he lacked experience.
Since retiring in 1998, LaFontaine has spent time coaching youth hockey and, most recently, served as an adviser to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
LaFontaine said he'll work with Sabres assistant general manager Kevin Devine in making roster decisions.
The biggest question mark revolves around the status of veteran goalie Ryan Miller, who is in the final year of his contract. The Sabres, under Regier, had not ruled out trading Miller rather than risk losing him to free agency.
LaFontaine said it's too early to determine what approach the Sabres might take with Miller.
"We'll exercise patience and do the right thing by the organization and by the player that fits into what we want to achieve," LaFontaine said.
The Sabres are in the midst of a major overhaul that began last season.