The University at Buffalo football program picked up another sizable donation from local businessman Tunney Murchie.
Murchie, a UB graduate, announced during the school’s Breakfast of Champions at the Buffalo Niagara Marriott in Amherst on Saturday that he is donating $3 million, the largest gift in the athletic department’s history.
Two years ago almost to the date, Murchie donated $1 million to be used toward capital projects in UB Stadium and Alumni Arena. In recognition of the gift, the football headquarters at UB Stadium was named “The Murchie Family Football Center.”
UB athletics director Danny White had been in conversation with Murchie for the last year with the intention of a larger gift, but White was surprised he announced it on Saturday prior to the Blue & White Game.
“It was neat because we had other alumni there and he gave an awesome message when he spoke just encouraging others to step up and give,” White said.
Murchie, a 1975 graduate of the school, is the owner and president of Lackawanna Products Corp. His wife, Deanna, graduated in 1974 from UB with a degree in public health.
The money is earmarked for further expansion of the Murchie Family Football Center, which will move the coaches’ offices to the second level of the building and closer to the field overlooking UB Stadium. More meeting rooms will be constructed as well.
“It will put us on par with other schools in the MAC and across the country,” White said.
“Our football headquarters will look the part.”
White said the proposed $20 million fieldhouse is, “coming along,” but UB will soon be the lone school in the MAC without an indoor facility for football. Ohio University is putting the finishing touches on the 74,000-square-foot Walter Field House at a cost of $12.5 million, while Miami (Ohio) recently broke ground on a $13 million indoor sports center.
“We’re having a lot of positive conversations, but it’s a big number,” White said. “It’s a more challenging project, but we’ll get there in time.”
The spoils of success generally include a boost in recruiting. Over 400 recruits attended the game including all 21 signees from last February’s recruiting class.
The coaching staff usually talks to recruits in the team meeting room, which seats over 100, but they had to move outside into the stands at UB Stadium.
“We had a record crowd of prospective student-athletes taking a look at what we’re doing,” UB coach Jeff Quinn said. “What an unbelievable day it was.”
Quinn said he will release a depth chart after the staff evaluates the entire four weeks of spring practice.
But he mentioned several players who helped themselves like Okezie Alozie, Adam Redden and Whitney Sherry in the secondary and linebackers Brandon Crawford and Jarrett Franklin, who is Khalil Mack’s replacement. Offensively, wide receivers Boise Ross and Marcus McGill enjoyed good springs as did center Brandon Manosalvas.
“These guys have been making good decisions … “We’ll see where they are going into fall camp,” Quinn said.
Patrick Clarke kicked for both teams and knocked in 4-of-6 field goals from 20, 43, 47 and 54 yards.