University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi said Tuesday that the desire to build on the progress made under Danny White and keep continuity in athletics was a big reason Allen Greene was named new athletics director.
Greene, 38, was named to replace White, who is leaving UB to take the same job at the University of Central Florida.
“Allen has been at the heart of the successful vision that has guided our athletic programs over the last several years,” Tripathi said. “And with a clear vision for its continued upward trajectory, he is ready to hit the ground running as our next athletics director.”
Greene spent the past three and a half years as White’s right-hand man, and the last two as deputy director of athletics.
UB is expected to keep the bulk of its athletic management team in place. Greene said he does not plan any overhaul of the department.
The Bulls have first-year coaches in place in their two most high-profile sports. Lance Leipold is in his first year running the football program. Nate Oats has just started his first season as men’s basketball coach, taking over for Bobby Hurley. UB just opened a new luxury seating section at UB Stadium, which it thinks will help pave the way for the building of a new fieldhouse for the football program.
A lot of heavy lifting in athletics has been done.
“Part of why I feel I’m prepared is I’ve been working side by side with Danny on really every decision made with football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball,” Greene said.
“I was obviously part of the process of bringing in Bobby and Nate and Lance,” Greene said. “I know them very well. I work with them on a daily basis. . . . I feel like there isn’t much we haven’t gone through these last three years. We’ve done a lot of heavy lifting, and I look forward to continuing to make progress with our programs.”
Tripathi said staying in-house for White’s replacement wasn’t essential but continuing White’s philosophy was key. White has tried to rally the UB community around the idea that the university has the potential to be “the next great college athletics brand.” In other words, White has tried to get UB to aim higher.
“The continuity, not of personnel, but the continuity of the program was important,” Tripathi said. “It happens to be that he’s here and he’ll continue the program. The kind of vision and aspiration that Danny set, that was important. It so happened we had a person right here to continue it.”
UB has a financing model that has been approved for the building of a new fieldhouse for the football program, expected to cost about $18 million. UB needs to have $6 million in hand to start construction, because a plan to borrow $10 million for the project has been approved. As of late summer, about $2 million was in place.
Greene left no doubt where a fieldhouse ranks on his to-do list. He would not say how close UB is to putting a shovel in the ground.
“There is a red stamp that says Priority No. 1,” he said. “That is stamped everywhere in everybody’s brain. That is the most important thing for us right now, and we’re working very, very hard to make that come to fruition.”
What about UB’s athletic branding initiative, which highlights “New York” on its team’s jerseys and athletic fields?
The branding for the entire university is being reviewed as part of an identity and brand strategy initiative. A decision is expected before the end of the spring semester.
Tripathi decided to hire Greene without the help of a formal committee, which is how the last two AD hires were made.
“It’s a different task than hiring a professor,” Tripathi said. “It takes almost a year to hire a professor. Athletics it’s really days or weeks. What I did was I called people I know across the country. I talked to people who might be available elsewhere, who might fit into what I want to do. As I looked around, I had somebody here who really was the person who could take the role and move forward.”