---Below are thoughts from Mark Bortz and Calvin Cage, two of Reggie Witherspoon's former players, on the news Friday that Witherspoon's 14-year era at UB had come to an end. Cage's comments are from his Facebook page while Bortz's are part of an email he sent to me at 3 a.m. Saturday morning:
Mark Bortz, Class of 2005:
I was in the middle of a store when I received the news and was in complete shock. I wandered around the store for several minutes in a daze before I came to my senses and rushed to be with my family, my UB family. I was in disbelief only hours after watching UB in a hard-fought battle against rival Kent St. in the MAC Tournament.
I could not believe that the man who brought UB out of the basement of the MAC had been fired. The same man that made UB a championship contender on a yearly basis, took his teams to two MAC Championship games, groomed multiple MAC Player of the Year winners, won multiple Coach of the Year awards, took the school to its first ever post-season appearances and won a share of the MAC regular season title in a year they were picked to finish last!
How quickly we forget the past and take for granted what we have. As I sat in silence, I thought about all of the experiences I had on the court with Coach Witherspoon, but equally about our times off the court, especially since I graduated in 2005. I thought about the basketball family that Coach “Spoon” had created. What the public doesn’t get to see is how much Coach really cared for his players beyond points, assists and rebounds. He cares about making his players into men and believed in the importance of education. Coach Witherspoon helped to mold me into the man I am today and I credit much of my success as a professional basketball player and in life to his mentorship.
Calvin Cage, Class of 2006
11 years ago a 17 yr. old kid sat in Bladensburg High at press conference on national signing day. Several high major offers I sign to go to Buffalo, everyone is (upset)!! The Washington Post my coach, a few teammates, at the time I was turning pro at 19 regardless, I get on campus meet Reggie Witherspoon and he's KILLING me from day 1!!! Tells me that until I mature I won't play. We won only 5 games that yr., but I’m forever grateful to this man because this guy made me a MAN!! I'm not person, friend, son, father boyfriend that I am if it wasn't for Reg. Coming from DC I was homesick the 1st day I stepped on campus, his family excepted me like I was their own, the ENTIRE family!! I'm hurt to hear this news my brother (Turner Battle) is there coaching also like I know I’ll (probably) never be in Buffalo again, my ties to the university are done.
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