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Memphis' Mark Alnutt named new UB athletics director

Mark Alnutt, a deputy director of athletics at the University of Memphis, has been hired as new athletic director at the University at Buffalo.

Alnutt replaces Allen Greene, who left UB for Auburn University in January.

Alnutt has been at Memphis almost three years. Before that he served a three-year stint as athletics director at Division I Southeast Missouri State. Prior to that, he spent 15 years in athletic administration at his alma mater, the University of Missouri.

Alnutt, 45, played football for Missouri in the mid-1990s.

Memphis plays in the American Athletic Conference, which includes Connecticut, Cincinnati and Central Florida and is a step up from UB's Mid-American Conference. Memphis had an athletics budget of $48.4 million for the 2016-17 school year, according to federal documents. The Memphis football budget was almost $15 million. UB's athletics budget was $33 million in 2016-17, with a football budget of $7.8 million.

"Mark is driven, innovative and thoughtful, and I have every confidence he will help the UB athletics program realize its full potential, competing with the very best in the nation," said UB President Satish K. Tripathi, in a news release.

Greene served just a little over two years at the UB helm. Greene previously was the top aide of Danny White, who served as UB AD for 3 1/2 years, from 2012 to 2015.

Alnutt is taking over an athletics program that is thriving.

The UB men's basketball team just finished its greatest season ever, a 27-9 campaign that reached the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament, a first for any Big 4 team since 1970. The women's basketball team (28-5) is enjoying its greatest season ever and will play in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA women's tournament. The UB men and women's hoops teams have combined for five NCAA appearances in the past four seasons.

Meanwhile, UB's football team under coach Lance Leipold has been improving and is poised for a big year in 2018. The football team is led by two of its top recruits ever – receiver Anthony Johnson and quarterback Tyree Jackson. Both are considered NFL prospects.

UB also broke ground on an $18 million fieldhouse on Oct. 8. That's a project that had been high on the wish list of UB athletic directors for 20 years. It is being funded via $6 million from athletics fundraising and $2 million from football revenue and a $10 million bond. A record donation by the Murchie family put the project over the top. (The total was not released but it is at least more than $3 million.)

Fundraising figures to be a top priority for Alnutt, as it was for Greene and White.

UB hired Parker Executive Search to identify top candidates for the AD job. Parker is a Georgia-based company that specializes in upper-level higher education positions. It is well known for placing university presidents, athletic directors and coaches. UB hired Parker when it found White as its AD in 2012.

Greene was hired by Auburn after consultation with Parker Executive Search. Notre Dame and Oregon have been clients of the firm. White was hired by Central Florida after consultation with Parker.

The UB search committee was chaired by Jonathan Dandes, a UB Council member and president of Rich Baseball Operations, and by Beth Del Genio, Tripathi's chief of staff. There were 12 other members of the committee, and they included two current coaches (Leipold and women's volleyball coach Blair Brown Lipsitz) and two student athletes. There were two faculty members on the committee, along with the dean of UB's Graduate School of Education.

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