Tonawanda News


March 18, 2014

PARRINO: White's vision for UB needs clarity

Tonawanda News — It's been a remarkable year for the University at Buffalo athletic program.

Khalil Mack rocked the college football world, and the men's basketball team won the first outright Mid-American Conference East regular season title in school history. The New York Bulls Initiative is in full motion, and the UB brand has never been so nationally illuminated.

But, alas, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

With arguably the most talented senior class in school history, including Mack — the potential No. 1 pick in April’s NFL draft — the football team fizzled after contending in the MAC for most of the season. And the basketball team, led by the school's all-time leading scorer in Javon McCrea and first-year head coach Bobby Hurley, bowed out of the MAC Tournament as the No. 3 seed in the quarterfinals against No. 6 Eastern Michigan. That’s the same EMU squad the Bulls beat 76-66 earlier in the season.

Danny White had a vision for UB Athletics when he took over for the departed Warde Manuel: make the UB brand a part of the national conversation. That vision has included a trio of marquee moves, including a controversial five-year contract extension for head football coach Jeff Quinn, the replacement of 14-year head basketball coach Reggie Witherspoon with the hiring of Duke legend Bobby Hurley, and the re-branding of the University at Buffalo as the flagship school of New York State.

I don't question whether White has the best of intentions. I mean, he has elevated the program, but at what cost? I sit here one day away from the start of March Madness, with the Bulls once again watching, and I am left wondering, less than two years into White's tenure, if the grand design is flawed.

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