UB announced today that they had filled the position of Head Women's Soccer Coach, which had been vacant since Michael Thomas was fired on November 7th.
Former Assistant Coach Shawn Burke, who has been with the Bulls for five seasons, rises to the top job, despite being part of the staff that was unable to replicate its high-water mark in 2011. From the UB Press Release:
We have been well aware of Shawn's talents and, after searching the country, we determined that he is the best fit for our program moving forward," said White. "Shawn has connections with our current student-athletes and our recruiting base and he knows what it will take to win in the Mid-American Conference.
Emphasis is mine. Given the heated discussion that came from the Todd Kress firing, I think it's safe to say that team chemistry is an important factor to hiring a new coach right now.
Under Coach Burke's tutelage UB boasted one of the top defenses in the MAC, even in the disappointing 2013 season, and goalkeeper Ainsley Wheldon routinely won MAC Defensive Player of the Week over her career. UB will have to replace the stalwart in net for next season.
This is an apparent change in direction from many of Danny White's previous hires. In many of his coaching changes, White appeals to the fact that UB should be striving for more than it is getting, and his hires reflect that. Trina Peel, Bobby Hurley, Stu Riddle, and Felisha Legette-Jack all came with big-time playing experience, and coaching experience from outside of Buffalo. The Burke hire is a departure from that trend. We'll see in the fall how the Women's Soccer team responds to this change.