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UB Extends Quinn's Contract

As the season passed the halfway point and the losses continued to mount, the idea of Jeff Quinn receiving a contract extension had all the forward carry of a punt into hurricane winds. A contract extension? A good many UB fans were wondering just the opposite: What would it take to buy him out?

The presence of a new athletic director in Danny White fueled some public speculation of Quinn’s impending demise. New ADs often like to put their stamp on an athletic department and changing coaches on one of the program’s high-profile teams serves the purpose.

 White waited and watched. A six-game losing streak gave way to one win. Then a second. And a third, marking the first time since the championship season of 2008 the Bulls have strung together three consecutive victories. A team low on seniors was getting results and exuding greater promise.

 White sized it all up, accounted for the severity of the early-season schedule, and decided UB’s football team is on the right track. That conclusion made its way onto paper Wednesday when Quinn received a three-year contract extension that makes him the First Bull In through 2017.

 "I’m extremely confident in Jeff’s ability to recruit and develop these young men to be champions both on the field and in life," White said in an athletic department release. "He espouses great integrity, character and core values that are directly in line with our institution. UB Athletics may have more potential than any other department in America. To make it a reality, we need to build sustained success in football, year in and year out, and I believe that coach Quinn and his staff are leading us there."

 UB went 2-10 in Quinn’s first season (2010), 3-9 his second and is 4-7 heading into Friday’s season finale against Mid-American Conference rival Bowling Green. This year’s improvement has come despite injuries to the team’s top three running backs and a passing game that foundered before Joe Licata took over for an injured Alex Zordich three games ago.

 UB returns nine starters on offense next season and 12 players who have started at least one game on a defense that ranks second overall in the MAC behind Bowling Green.

 Asked earlier this week if he felt a personal pressure as the losses mounted, Quinn said he was buoyed by a belief a breakthrough was forthcoming.

 "It was more determination," he said. "I was more concerned about the players and my coaches. We needed to change the outcome, there was no doubt. You can’t keep having the (negative) results and expect yourself to be protected in this business. It doesn’t work that way. We all know that. But the bottom line is I had great support from a program and a bunch of kids that just hung in there together. And that’s what I appreciate."

 Financial terms were not immediately available but it would be typical for such an extension to include a salary increase. Quinn’s initial deal called for annual base pay of $250,000, another $75,000 in compensation for media and promotional duties as well bonuses attainable for items ranging from meeting team academic-performance goals ($5,000) to national coach of the year ($50,000).

 Assuming the original contract language remains unchanged, UB has financial protections in the event Quinn’s released from the position. Quinn would be entitled to base pay and  additional compensation for the remaining years on the contract but that settlement would be adjusted downward by his earnings if he gained another football job.

 If Quinn becomes a hot commodity and leaves for another position UB is entitled to compensation equal to his base salary for unfulfilled years of the deal. That typically would be paid by the school that hires him.

-- Bob DiCesare

Canisius-UB Game Wrap

Canisius 71, UB 64

How Canisius Won: Call it great defense, UB's largesse or a combination of the two. It's not so hard to make due on an average shooting night and overcome a deficit on the backboards when the opponent commits 24 turnovers, as the Bulls did. Seven of those belonged to point guard Jarod Oldham (he also had nine assists).

Turning Point: A six-point Canisius run featuring layups by Harold Washington, Jordan Heath and Alshwan Hymes made it 63-54 with 6:42 left.

Player of the Game: Bill Baron played 39 minutes and led the way with 18 points while handing out five assists against just one turnover. Which has had the greater impact -- the father or the son?

What It Means: The Griffs are 3-0 after opening with three games at the KAC for the first time in their history. UB, one of only 11 teams in the nation already with six starts, fell to 1-5.

Noteworthy: UB's Will Regan (15) and Canisius's Jordan Heath (14) both hit career highs for points. ... It's the first time the Griffs have beaten UB and Bona in the same season since '03-04.

In the House: There were 2,196 at the KAC, the second consecutive sellout and the 13th since the building was renovated 10 years ago.

They Said It:

"I do not remember playing five guys 75 percent of the minutes at any level. I don't remember doing that. I mean, not jv, not high school basketball, not junior college, not here, never. If it happened I don't remember it. And even today I certainly didn't plan on it." -- UB coach Reggie Witherspoon on playing all five starters over 30 minutes because of injuries.

"It's kind of unspoken. The coaches brought it up. They talked to us about how bad they beat us (last year). We talked about it among each other briefly, but it's nothing like, "Aw, man, they got into us last year, we got to come out . . . '" -- Canisius guard Harold Washington on avenging last year's 94-59 loss to the Bulls.

Injury Update: UB was without forward Xavier Ford, who was dinged in a practice collision with Cameron Downing, and guard Tony Watson (ankle). They're both day-to-day.

Back in Uniform: The Griffs will have Freddy Asprilla back from a three-game suspension for violating team rules when they play at Stony Brook at noon Saturday. UB hosts Mansfield Saturday.

-- Bob DiCesare

Live chat: UB football, Big 4 hoops with Bob DiCesare at 2 p.m.

Niagara hockey ranked

It's been a while since Niagara men's hockey cracked the national polls, but the Purple Eagles landed at No. 20 this week in the Division I men's poll.

The last time the Purple Eagles were ranked by the online poll was March 24, 2008 when they were No. 19. That season Niagara was ranked for 10 weeks and earned its third NCAA tournament berth.

This year, Niagara is off to an 8-2-3 start and is unbeaten in its last nine games. The Purple Eagles are 7-0-0 in Atlantic Hockey play and have outscored their conference opponents, 24-3.

Niagara is off until next weekend when it hosts conference rival Sacred Heart on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

---Amy Moritz 

UB's Mack Honored

UB junior linebacker Khalil Mack has been named the Mid-American Conference East Defensive Player of the Week for his dominating performance in Saturday's 29-19 victory at UMass. Mack set careers highs with 15 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He finished with 3.5 tackles for losses -- becoming UB's career leader in the category -- and forced a pair of fumbles. Oh, yeah, and he was in on both the third- and fourth-down stops of UB's first quarter goalline stand.

The other two East Division awards went to players from Kent State, which locked up the division title with a 31-24 victory over Bowling Green Saturday. The offensive award went to the imcomparable Dri Archer, who rolled for 241 yards on 17 carries and scored from 74 and 77 yards out.Check him out below.  The second TD run defies belief. Kent punter Anthony Melchiori won the special teams award.


-- Bob DiCesare



A-10 nabs two weekend upsets

Just in case you missed the memo: The Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Conference is for real.

While nation pundits explain (correctly) that two weeks into the season is no time for the top teams to panic, don't brush off these early season wins by the A-10.

On Saturday, Saint Joseph's knocked off No. 5 Maryland, 50-49, in Philadelphia. On Sunday, Dayton improved to 4-0 after upending No. 13 Vanderbilt 71-66 at UD Arena. That's the second win over a ranked team for the Flyers this season after beating then-No. 25 DePaul on Nov. 10.

St. Bonaventure is off to a 3-0 start and plays at Fairfield on Tuesday before taking on heavy hitters, starting with Georgia in the first round of the New Mexico Tournament on Friday and playing at Delaware Nov. 28.

The Bonnies meet up with Saint Joe's in Philadelphia on Jan. 26 and host Dayton on Feb. 21.

Meantime, here are some highlights and interviews from Dayton's latest win. Remember, the Flyers are the defending A-10 championships having outlasted the Bonnies in the title game last season, so you may want to reserve Feb. 21 as a good day for a drive to Olean.

--- Amy Moritz 


MAC Power Rankings

Bob DiCesare's MAC Power Rankings for Nov. 18:

1. Northern Illinois -- Did you see Jordan Lynch chase down Dan Molls after INT?

2. Kent State -- Dri Archer a Johnny Rodgers throwback.

3. Ball State -- Put up 43 on Kent earlier in year.

4. Bowling Green -- A Dri Archer short of division title.

5. Toledo -- Akron this week a salve for late-season wounds.

6. Buffalo -- BG game this week will show how far they've come -- or still have to go.

7. Ohio -- Least deserving of MAC's bowl-eligibles.

8. Central Michigan -- On first winning streak since '09.

9. Miami -- A great QB can't fix everything.

10. Eastern Michigan -- Ran 49 times in win at WMU.

11. Western Michigan -- Tough end to career for Carder.

12. UMass -- Need to fix stadium and get games on campus.

13. Akron -- Have lost 13 straight and 20 of last 21 in MAC.

St. Bonaventure-Canisius live blog

Canisius 72, Bona 69, Final: Matthew Wright missed a three-pointer that would have sent the game into overtime as the Griffs move up to 2-0.

Canisius 68, Bona 67, 16.9: The Bonnies looked a bit confused running their offense and Kloof tried a three-pointer that was knocked out of bounds by Bona.

Canisius 68, Bona 67, 53.2  seconds left: Manhertz taps in a Washington miss.

Bona 67, Canisius 66, 1:20: Conger makes two free throws after a questionable foul by Jordan Heath.

Canisius 66, Bona 63, 1:30: Washington slashes to the basketball to give the Griffs a one-point lead.

Bona 65, Canisius 62, 4:19: Harold Washington has the team on his back with 19 points.

Bona 61, Canisius 57,7:50: The pace has picked up considerably and the play has been cleaned up wth fewer turnovers. Matthew Wright just a floater off a Demetrius Conger steal to put the Bonnies up by four.

Bona 49, Canisius 48, 11:20: The place is going nuts. Sosa's block from behind on a Mosley jumper ignited a Griffs fastbreak that ended with a Jordan Heath two-handed dunk.

Bona 46, Canisius 43, 14:27: Kloof is picking up Baron fullcourt and Canisius can't run its offense as quickly as it did against Boston U. Baron also has five turnovers.

Bona 44, Canisius 43, 15:37 left in the second half: The sloppy play hs carried over in the second half for both teams.

Bona 37, Canisius 32, halftime: Sloppy finish in the last few minutes to end the half. Johnson has 14 points to lead all scorers while Billy Baron has nine.Johnson has connected on six of his seven shots from the floor.

Bona 35, Canisius 30, 3:03: Eric Mosley is feeling it. Hits three consecutive 3s and Griffs call timeout.

Canisius 21, Bona 21, 7:58: Chris Johnson has nine points for the Bonnies while Isaac Sosa. Lots of physical play and for the most part, the refs are letting them play.

Canisius 17, Bona 15, 11:53: Griffs on a 7-2 run after hitting back-to-back threes. Jordan Heath has two fouls.

Bona 11, Canisius 7: The Griffs are finding out early how physical Bona is. Charlon Kloof's steal and dunk extended the Bonnies lead to four points.

Pregame: It's about seven minutes left before tipoff and fans are still filing in. The Bona fans, naturally, are the loudest.

---Rodney McKissic

Oliver, Campbell Out

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Injured running backs Branden Oliver and Devin Campbell are out for today's game against UMass. The absence of Oliver (ankle) and Campbell (back) thrusts Elma's Brandon Murie back into the starting role. Murie also drew the start Sept. 29 at UConn and rushed for 55 yards on 18 carries. He also had a 50-yard TD reception in that game through a special player involving a lateral from Alex Neutz.

UB's depth at the position has drawn lean. James Potts, the No. 2 back start the season, was lost for the year with a knee injury in Game Two against Morgan State. The Bulls list no other running backs on their depth chart.

As I wrote earlier in the week, TE Alex Dennison likely will serve as the backup/alternative option. Coach Jeff Quinn conceded this week he'd be unlikely to burn the redshirt of freshman Jordan Johnson (Sweet Home) this late in the season.

The Bulls have Wildcat packages with Dennision. They also have the option of using backup quarterback Alex Zordich situationally if the running game's stalling.

The sky's almost cloudless here today. Slight breeze. Perfect day for football. Would have be even better if they had started this game two hours earlier.

-- Bob DiCesare

UB-UMass Pregame

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Gillette Stadium is hopping early this afternoon with some kind of Battle of the Bands event. Just heard a medley of songs from The Lion King.

It's a 3 p.m. kickoff today, a strange time for a non-televised game. Why is UMass playing at Gillette Stadium, home of the Patriots? Because its 17,000-seat on-campus facility needs upgrades to meet the approval of the Mid-American Conference. I'm told those could start in the spring.

I'll provide an update on UB's injury situation once it becomes available.

UMass is 1-9, 1-5 and coming off its first FBS victory as an FBS team, a 22-14 decision over Akron. UB is 3-7, 2-4 and looking for its first three-game winning streak since the 2008 championship season.

-- Bob DiCesare


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About Campus Watch

Bob Dicesare

Bob DiCesare

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.

@TBNDicesare |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

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.

@amymoritz |