It's been a spring of Change in Amherst long time figures in UB's athletics department have been falling left and right. Today the UB fan base was once again blindsided by a high profile firing.
Buffalo faithful found out today that Victor E. Bull, UB's mascot for 15 seasons, had been released by athletic director Danny White. Victor is the third employee fired during the past month along with mens basketball coach Reggie Witherspoon and UB Wrestling coach Jim Beichner.
Like Witherspoon and Beichner the bad news came after Victor came home early from a post season tournament.
I was on my way back from the SUNY Mascot Challenge when I got a text from Director White saying he needed to see me. I thought this was just going to be about some upcoming True Blue Events. But when I walked into his office he told me that he thought the mascot position needed to go in a different direction - Victor E Bull
Victor was on his way home after a heartbreaking loss to Baxter the Bear Cat of Binghamton. It's the second time in his career that Victor had to bow out early in a post season contest.
In 2002, Victor E. Bull was chosen as a member of the Capital One All America Mascot Team. The Buffalo Mascot was featured in a national television spot along with eleven other national collegiate mascots, and was given a chance to compete for the Capital One Bowl mascot of the year as part of the Capital One Mascot Challenge. He was unable to defeat Monte from the University of Montana.
Victor lamented that his tenure and lack of hardware may have worked against him. "Maybe that's the problem" Victor continued, "Fair or not there is this perception that I can't take the University any further".
Mascot's from across the conference have expressed shock at the development.
Victor's a class act, what kind of message are we sending to MAC mascots. What do mascots have to do to survive in this conference? Do they have assault someone from the Big Ten like that thug from Ohio? -- Zippy,Mascot from the Akron Zips
This is not the first time that White has had a hand in the release of Colonel Reb from Ole Miss. That search led to the hire of Rebel Black Bear who has struggled to unify the Rebel fan base to the same level achieved by the Colonel.
UB released this statement:
"After much consideration, we have determined that a change in mascot for our university athletic programs is necessary. Victor has been the face of program for the past 16 years and has always acted with character and integrity. We are grateful for his service to our institution. This was a very difficult decision because I understand the impact Victor has made to our University and community. A national search will be undertaken immediately to find a replacement for Victor. -- Danny White