The University at Buffalo has announced that the expired contract of women's basketball coach Linda Hill-MacDonald will not be renewed and a search for her successor has begun.
The Bulls parted ways with Hill-MacDonald after a seven-year run during which UB went 75-137 and was unable to post a winning season. The Bulls were 9-22 this past campaign, including a 4-12 record in the Mid-American Conference. Hill-MacDonald's status remained in limbo while UB underwent a change in athletic department leadership, with Danny White hired earlier this month to replace the departed Warde Manuel.
While the UB news release contained a statement from interim AD John Lambert, doubtless White played a role in the process. Coincidentally, he was involved in Mississippi's decision to hire women's basketball coach Adrian Wiggins just 10 weeks ago.
Hill-MacDonald's hiring appeared a serious step forward for the program at the time. She arrived with a wealth of coaching experience, at Temple, Minnesota and with Cleveland of the WNBA. While she recruited some of the best players ever to wear UB uniforms, notably Kourtney Brown and Brittany Hedderson, the supporting casts proved inadequate.
Kyvaune Brammer, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound wide receiver/LB at Brooklyn Tech, is saying he will attend the University at Buffalo beginning in 2013, sources tell me. The Bulls had an in on this one. The principal at Brooklyn Tech, Randy Asher, is a UB grad. Brammer is the first known verbal in UB's 2013 recruiting class.
St. Bonaventure's improbable journey to the Atlantic 10 basketball title and its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2000 has resulted in a five-year contract extension for coach Mark Schmidt. The deal ties Bona to Schmidt through the 2018-19 season, although certainly there's buyout language in the event Schmidt down the road accepts an offer from another institution.
"I'm happy we were able to reach a long-term agreement and give men's basketball at St. Bonaventure the security and continuity it deserves," athletic director Steve Watson said in a statement released by the school this afternoon. "Mark and his staff have done a terrific job with the program on the court, in the classroom, on campus and in the community. We look forward to their continued success."
"I'm pleased and honored by the commitment the University made to me and my staff," Schmidt said in the news release. "The players that my staff has successfully recruited the previous five years have brought our program back to prominence. We fully expect to continue building on the tradition of excellence and doing it the right way in years to come."
Financial terms were not disclosed. Schmidt made about $300,000 a year in his original contract. He was Sporting News Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year following Bona's first 20-win season since 2000.
Released statements from UB Search Committee on hiring of Danny White:
Francis M. Letro, co-chair: "Our search process drew a very strong, deep pool of applicants from across the country, which I see as recognition of UB's growing national reputation, both academically and in athletics. I have every confidence in Danny's ability to lead our program as we pursue even greater achievement.""
Dennis Black, co-chair: "Danny sets a superb example for our students. He has earned post-graduate degrees and is working on his doctorate, as well as achieving success on the basketball court and in his chosen profession."
Danny White, senior associate athletics director at Mississippi, has been named the new athletic director at the University of Buffalo.
White played basketball on Notre Dame's 2002 NCAA team and went on to become Director of Basketball Operations and eventually an assistant basketball coach at Ohio. He was an associate AD at Fresno State from 2007-09.
Athletics are prominent throughout the family. White's father Kevin is the athletic director at Duke and his brother Michael is head basketball coach at Louisiana Tech.
Western New York native Bob DiCesare covers UB football, Big 4 basketball and writes an occasional column. He still holds a grudge against Chris Ford who, he's convinced, cost St. Bonaventure the 1970 NCAA basketball championship.
Rodney McKissic began his journalism career in 1989 after graduating from the University of Cincinnati and has worked for The Buffalo News since 2001. A proud father of four children, he enjoys reading in his spare time.
Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered colleges for The Buffalo News since 1999. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.