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Source: Witherspoon to ECC as AD

By BOB DICESARE

Former UB basketball coach Reggie Witherspoon is moving into a high-end administrative capacity at Erie Community College and will have full control of the athletic department, sources say. The news comes three months after Witherspoon, who played for and coached ECC, was relieved of his duties following 14 years at UB. Sources say current AD Peter Jerebko will remain wih the school.

Witherspoon could not immediately be reached for comment. It's believed he will join ECC as a VP and report directly to the president.

UB Football Adding Concert Series

By BOB DICESARE

The push to increase the relevance of UB football reached another level today with announced plans for a concert series before all home games. Nationally renowned recording artists Kool and the Gang will perform two hours before kickoff at the Oct. 5 Homecoming Game. Other acts will be announced in the coming weeks.

"It's truly all about game day this fall and we want to build a culture that celebrates the college football experience available right here in Western New York on the UB campus," AD Danny White said via a department release. "As New York State's largest public university, our potential is truly limitless as we continue to utilize our athletics program as a rallying point to galvanize the community at large. These are exciting times for our institution."

Game day festivites also will include a "Walk to Victory," by the football team, an event common at schools with great football tradition. UB also wil provide an enhanced experience at "Stampede Square." including giveaways and interactive activities.

The concert series and accompanying events are the latest move by White and his staff to build support and increase  revenues for UB athletics, football and basketball in particular. The university already is securing seat commitments for the East Club at UB Stadium, an upscale seating and hospitality area with a scheduled 2014 opening.

Today's announcement is the beginning of a season-ticket drive with seats priced at $90.                   

UB's Kanzler Golden Again

By BOB DICESARE

UB outfielder Jason Kanzler is the first player in the seven-year history of the collegiate Rawlings Gold Glove Award to earn a repeat selection, the university reports. He's the Mid-American Conference Playerof the Year and was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 20th round of the baseball entry draft.

Kanzler won a Gold Glove as a junior for his play in center field and has been recognized again as a senior. Only nine players nationally receive the award. The other outfielders on the team are Austin Cousino of Kentucky and Brett Williams of North Carolina State. Cousino is only a sophomore. One freshman made the squad -- second baseman Kyle Overstreet of Alabama.

The honorees were selected by the American Baseball Coaches Association's All-American Committee.

Kanzler made one error over his final 142 games with the Bulls and had a 95-game errorless streak until March 2 of this season.

Ortega, Dixon and Wilson will not return to St. Bonaventure

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

St. Bonaventure's leading scorer will not return for her senior season. Doris Ortega along with guards CeCe Dixon and Tatiana Wilson were dismissed from the Bona women's basketball team.

"Obviously we wish them well," Bona coach Jim Crowley said. "It just didn't work here."

Crowley said all three have been granted their release and play at any school they wish. He also added about the departure, "I wouldn't say it was mutual."

Ortega started 27 games for the Bonnies last year, averaging 12.1 points. Dixon played in 24 games, missing five after being suspended for what was called an "internal team issue." The Bonnies seemed to be fighting through internal issues and chemistry problems at times last season. Combine that with a young team and several injuries and the program that went to the Sweet 16 in 2012 finished up 2013 with a 10-19 overall record and a 3-11 Atlantic 10 mark.

Wilson, who would have been a junior at Bona, averaged 9.1 minutes and saw action in 26 games.

Ortega and Dixon had been key components of the Bonnies run in 2012 as sophomores but seemed to stumble as juniors with the ability to take their game and leadership to the next level.

With their departures, Bona now returns just eight players -- two seniors and six sophomores -- with two freshman on the roster for next season.

Among those returning are seniors Ashly Zahn and Chelsea Bowker, who sat out last year as a medical redshirt with an ankle injury.

Among the sophomores returning are Katie Healy (Lancaster), Nyla Rueter and Emily Michael, all of whom saw significant playing time as freshmen.

Crowley said the team has responded very well to the loss of their teammates.

"From the time it happened, they have focused on moving forward," Crowley said. "We've gotten some great work ethic and leadership from people. They've had a solid spring and summer. We lost talent. Over the last two years we've lost a lot of it, but we have good talent here. We're getting used to each other, to playing together and for each other. Each day we're a day closer."

 

Former UB WR Hood Dies

   UB athletic officials say that former Bulls wide receiver Saron Hood died today, reportedly following a workout. Hood, who caught four passes for the 2011 UB team and was mostly used on special teams, had been attending graduate school at Texas A&M. He was a native of San Diego.

Hood-2010fb-087.jpg

 

Mike Kitts to be coordinator of MAAC men's basketball officials

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

Mike Kitts, a Sryacuse native who is regarded as one of the top officials in college basketball for the last 30 years, will be taking over the task of managing referees for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Kitts will officiate this next season and in the 2014-15 season will take over as Coordinator of Men's Basketball Officials for the MAAC. He will take over for Brad Tracy, who has been in the position since the 1990-91 season and is retiring after this season.

In 2008, Kitts was the Naismith Award winner, given annually to the nation's top referee. He has officiated 14 of the last 15 MAAC men's championship games.

Kitts has officiated the MAAC’s championship game in 14 of the last 15 tournaments, and in 2008, was the recipient of the Naismith Award, given annually to the nation’s top referee.

In a sit-down interview for the MAAC website (see below), Kitts said that a good referee has judgement, common sense and rule knowledge.

 

Mack Receives All-American Nod

By BOB DICESARE

UB linebacker Khalil Mack, widely projected as no worse than a third-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, has been named a third-team All-American by Phil Steele's College Football Preview. Mack is one of five Mid-American Conference players cited.

Kent State RB Dri Archer is first team on special teams, while Toledo WR Bernard Reedy and Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch are second team on special teams. The only other non-special teams player honored from the MAC was Kent State DL Roosevelt Nix, a member of the fourth-team defense.

Lyncn and Archer were identified as "all-purpose" players.

Ohio State, UB's opponent in this year's opener, put LBs Ryan Shazier and Bradley Roby on the first team defense and QB Braxton Miller on the second team offense. Baylor, UB's Week Two opponent, has a first-teamer in OG Cyril Richardson and a third-teamer in RB Lache Seastrunk.

On the baseball front, Collegiate Baseball newspaper's Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team includes two Bulls, reliever Ben Hertz and 3B/DH Tyler Mautner. Mautner batted .295 with 23 doubles and 35 RBIs. Hartz had six wins and a 2.01 ERA (UB's lowest since 2000). 

Rickan to join UB women's basketball team

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

After four years playing soccer for Syracuse, Jenna Rickan is choosing to use all of her NCAA eligibility. And she's returning home to do it.

Rickan, a former standout at Kenmore West, joined the University at Buffalo women's basketball team for the 2013-14 season.

Since Rickan graduated from Syracuse as a psychology major in four years, the NCAA rules allow her to use her fifth year of eligibility to play another sport for another school. She will begin graduate school at UB in the fall while playing for the Bulls.

As a forward for Syracuse, she was part of turning around the Syracuse women's soccer program. Her freshman season the Orange went just 5-11-3. This past season, the team went 9-7-2 with Rickan scoring two goals with six assists.

Her experience of creating a winning culture will fit right in at UB as the 5-9 guard joins a Buffalo team that surged late in the season under first-year coach Felisha Legette-Jack. The Bulls finished just 12-20 overall but went 8-8 in Mid-American Conference play earning a first-round home playoff game for the first time since 2007. They nearly upset third-seeded Akron in the MAC quarterfinals before the Zips pulled off the 83-79 win.

At Kenmore West, she became the first player to pass 1,000-points and was a first-team All-Western New York selection.

 

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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 | bdicesare@buffnews.com


Rodney McKissic

Rodney McKissic

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.

@RodneyMcKissic | rmckissic@buffnews.com


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 | amoritz@buffnews.com

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