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Biz Leaders Embrace UB Rebrand

By Bob DiCesare

UB athletics addressed what its rebranding vision seemed to lack Thursday by announcing the creation of an advisory board to assist in what’s being called the “New York Bulls Initiative.”

 The 16-member board consists of local business leaders and/or alumni and refutes any notion that the rebranding initiative launched by athletics director Danny White had encountered major resistance within the community. The board includes chairman Pete Augustine, president of New Era; Russ Brandon, president and chief operating officer of the Buffalo Bills, and Jerry Jacobs, principal, Delaware North.

 The group has been created to “provide strategic guidance to the UB Athletics leadership team” and help increase the relevance of UB athletics both locally and on a national level. White has said often since he was hired in May of 2012 that UB has limitless potential as the only public research institution in the Association of American Universities with athletic teams playing outside a BCS automatic-qualifier conference.

 “It’s about our whole push we’re trying to do to bring this place to big-time college athletics,” White told The News. “We’re launching our official movement that hasn’t been that quiet. It’s about fundraising, it’s about media partnerships, it’s about things we’ve been working on already. What we’re really trying to do is create some national buzz and let people know that this place has untapped potential.”

 UB recently secured a media presence on New York City-area radio, something White feels is important in reaching out to UB’s many downstate alums. Ticket pledges already are being solicited for the East Club, a premium seating section envisioned for UB Stadium. The hope is that  galvanizing the alumni base and the Western New York community will heighten involvement and interest in UB athletics and create revenue streams that fund various projects, particularly those that are facility-related . For instance, UB has long talked of becoming the equal of most other Mid-American Conference schools by building a field house that would facilitate, among other things, indoor football practices.

The rebranding initiative is already visible on the basketball court and the football field, both of which now contain the words New York. The state name also is on football coaches' shirts and player jerseys and presumably will be incorporated into the basketball uniforms.

 “The board is energized by the vision of UB athletics to elevate the profile of its programs to match the university’s high academic standards and to bring the message of pride to the many alumni that live across the state” Augustine said in a UB athletics news release. “Engaging that extensive network of alumni and partnering with key businesses locally and nationally will be a key to this initiative gaining momentum.”

 Other members of the board are:

 Kevin Brinkworth, real estate developer; Mark Czarnecki, president, M&T Bank; Greg D’Alba, president, CNN News Networks and Turner Digital Sales and Marketing; Bob Denning, president and CEO, Perry’s Ice Cream; Doug Dimitroff, partner, Phillips Lytle LLP; Colleen DiPirro, president and CEO, Amherst Chamber of Commerce.

 Also:

 Mike Joseph, president, Clover Management Inc; Francis Letro, partner, Francis M. Letro Attorneys at Law; Jordan Levy, managing partner, Softbank Capital New York; Gerry Matalon, senior coordinating producer, ESPN; Bob Morris, chairman, HAGIN Investment Management; Larry Quinn, former managing partner, Buffalo Sabres, and Steve Ulmer, president and CEO, Davis-Ulmer Sprinkler Company Inc.

Video: 60 seconds with a Bull - left tackle Andre Davis

The News' sports reporter Bob DiCesare interviews UB left tackle Andre Davis.

Meyer: Mack could start for Buckeyes

Rodney McKissic

Count Urban Meyer among the growing list of admirers of UB linebacker Khalil Mack.

Meyer said during the Big Ten conference call on Tuesday that Mack could start for the nation's No. 2 ranked team. Asked about jumping to a quick start in Saturday's game against the Bulls, Meyer quickly turned his attention to Mack, the Butkus Award candidate, who already holds school records for tackles for loss (56) and forced fumbles (11).

"They have a linebacker who could certainly start for Ohio State," Meyer said. "He will be a great NFL player. The more I watch him - I watched him during the summer but not with the same intensity as I've watched the last few days. Excellent player."

Live chat at 2:30 p.m.: UB & college football with Bob DiCesare

Video: What are the expectations for UB this season?

News Sports Columnists Bucky Gleason and Jerry Sullivan discuss what the expectations are for UB's football program and coach Jeff Quinn this year:

Watch other segments from this week's "Bucky & Sully Show" here.

Video: Report card for UB football as it wraps up training camp

News Sports Reporter Bob DiCesare weighs in on where UB's football team stands as it begins prepartion for next weekend's opener against Ohio State:

Ailing Bulls on Schedule for Return

By Bob DiCesare

Center Trevor Sales, guard Dillon Guy, wideout Fred Lee and safety Derek Brim practiced on a limited basis Friday but should be available when UB opens the football seasob Aug. 31 at Ohio State. The only player out for the opener is running back Jordan Johnsobn, who's expecting to miss the season after undergoing elbow surgery.

MAC Hooks Up With Time Warner

By Bob DiCesare

Time Warner Cable Sports Channel will televise an array of Mid-American Conference football games along with men's and women's basketball games under a three-year deal announced by the MAC. The package includes broadcasts of both the men's and women's conference basketball tournament and coverage of other Olympic sports on a periodic basis.

"This new relationship will provide us with the opportunity to televise more events in more sports than ever before," said MAC commissioner Dr Jon Steinbrecher. "This season alone we will televise 55 basketball games, which is the most in conference history."

In addition to live sports broadcasts Time Warner will broadcast preview shows, a signing day special, coaches shows and other special event programming.

UB Hoops Adds Transfer

By Bob DiCesare

Josh Freelove, a shooting guard who led Alabama State in scoring last year, has transferred to UB and will be immediately available to use his final season of eligibility, UB announced today.

The 6-foot-2 Freelove averaged 13.3 points for the Hornets, good for 10th place in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. This is Freelove's fourth school. He's also played at Toledo and Lewis and Clark Community College. He hails from Fort Lauderdale.

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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


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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