Section Three: There was more than one great depression in the 1930's
- UB teams renamed the Bulls in 1931 to differentiate between UB and Buffalo professional teams
- Bill Prichard who was an assistant to Biffy Lee was the first to coach "The Bulls" and lasted just one season
- UB played, and was defeated by the Notre Dame "B" team in 1931
- Cornell football alum Jim Wilson led UB for two years in the 30's, in his first two games against Ivy league teams UB lost by a combined 138-0.
- Coach Bibber would join UB from CMU and leave to take over the Athletics department at UConn
- In 1935, Under Coach Bibber Robert Rich, founder of Rich Foods (and owner of the AAA Bision's), would be one of the UB captains.
The Whole Story:
While the world was stuck in the worst of the great depressions UB would find itself in it's own perpetual rut. Coach Biffy Lee's last season (1930) was the beginning of a five year span of terrible football at UB. Buffalo would not have a winning season from 1930 until 1936. Some of this was due to a more intense schedule pushed by Coach Lee which after a very successful 1929 campaign.
It was during this time that UB renamed its athletic teams. During the 20's the Buffalo was home to several professional teams who used the name 'Bisions' (Professional Football, Basketball, Baseball). UB Athletics, in hopes of making itself distinctive from the Professional teams in the area renamed all of its sports teams to their current moniker, the Bulls.
Football members of the UB Athletics Hall of fame 1931-1935:
- Robert E. Rich ’35
- Alexander P. Aversano ’35-36
Prichard had been brought in with several others to coach under Coach Biffy Lee, apparently because while Lee Knew Knute Ronkne he was, according to UB legend Jim Ailinger, no Knute Rockne:
"Biff Lee, who later coached the University of Buffalo, he was Rockne's roommate when he was at Notre Dame. All he knew about football was just watching Rockne play. When he came, he went to the authorities at the University of Buffalo and said "I was Rockne's roommate at Notre Dame and I would like to coach the team." Well, he didn't know a damn thing about football. So he hired five of us who had experience. Bill Pritchard came from Penn State, Les Knapp and myself came from UB, another fella went to Notre Dame, and he hired five of us to coach the team. He was just a sidekick coach and he had a good imagination. He was a pretty smart guy. He coached the team, but we did the coaching of the players." -- Dr. Jim AilingerCoach Pritchard would have only a one season tenure at Buffalo, his two and six season would be the only year that he would serve as a head coach. Aside from wins of Hobart and Alfred Pritchards Bulls would be drubbed in just about every game they played, including an embarrassing 33-6 loss to the Notre Dame "B" team.
Pritchard would scrape together only one win in his first season, a 6-0 victory over Hobart. He would also manage to tie Alfred. While the other losses he suffered that year were not nearly as embarrassing as the Ivy league losses they were all very convincing. With a much softer schedule in 1933 Pritchard would manage a more respectable record of 2-3-2 but UB would change coaches the following year (Coach Pritchard would again briefly become head coach during the 50's).
In 1934 UB football would be taken over by Central Michigan head coach George Van Bibber, who was both the football coach and Athletic Director at UB. Bibbler would eventually end up at the University of Connecticut where he was the Wrestling coach and the Athletic Director.
The promise of Coach Bibbler was that he had managed some success at Central Michigan, where he went 12-9-2 during his three year tenure, but he could not achieve any real success at Buffalo. In his two seasons he would win just four games, dropping ten and managing a single tie. In nine of his 15 games his teams would fail to put a single point on the board, and more than half the time he was unable to keep opponents below 20. Though it was an offer from UConn (where he would serve until 1950) and not his lack of production that led to his departure from the team after the 1935 season.
0 Niagara 27, 0 Hamilton 0, 0 Western Reserve 33, 14 at Alfred 0, 8 Toledo 0, 0 at Clarkson 27, 13 Hobart 19
0 Baldwin-Wallace 55, 0 Hamilton 20, 0 Western Reserve 61, 7 Alfred 0, 0 Wayne State 14, 0 Clarkson 32, 13 Hobart 12, 6 Toledo 19