I want to thank you, Danny White.
I also want to start off by saying my thanks above is not to a move to kick Coach Quinn while he is down. A true Bulls fan (in my mind) is not happy with the firing. I would have been very happy to see Quinn get scooped up by a more "big time" program after having a great run last year. It would have meant that the Bulls had success.
This is not about Jeff Quinn. This is thanking Danny for not falling into the 'Buffalo justification trap'. To start off, I find myself often taking the easy road and finding reasons to justify why Buffalo has been historically down in sports. I also was a key contributor on articles this summer when Bull Run ran a special series highlighting the top worst sports moments in Buffalo history. Am I a hypocrite? Yes. I have been beaten down for too long. I am not going into the Bills or Sabres history. To be honest, I have totally given up on the Bills. As a season ticket holder for over a decade I have not watched a complete game this year (I almost got sucked back in and watched some of the Houston game).
This article is on the New York Bulls. I find it interesting to see one contradicting themselves in the same paragraph: to first blame past results on history, academic standards, and lack of facilities making it impossible to get good athletes to come to Amherst, when the very next sentence talks about the buzz that was created by Khalil Mack being taken fifth in the draft and the hours and hours of pre-draft hype (thank you Mike Mayock). That carried on to talk of the hottest player in the NFL right now Bo Oliver. There's local football hero Namaan Roosevelt still making a living in the league and how the fan base gets down when a team moves on from him and cheers when he is given a second chance. James Starks coming back to Niagara Falls sporting a Super Bowl ring after playing a key role in the Packers' playoff run to the Super Bowl. Trevor Scott is with the Bears and another local star Steven Means was drafted too. These were players who decided to come to Buffalo to play football.
Buffalo for a very long time was an excuse creator. Buffalo is getting screwed over with all our taxes going to New York City. Steel mills are closing as a result of countries who don't pay fair wages or care about the environment. The weather is terrible and no one wants to stay. While the above may actually be true, I love seeing that Buffalo is moving forward and making a difference in Buffalo besides the hindrances in WNY.
The same is true with Athletic Director White. White is not making or taking excuses. Some call him 'cold', I call him 'on a mission.' I'm also thankful he does not have the typical 'It can't happen here' mindset that many locals have. Here on Bull Run we have poked fun calling him the Grim Reaper, but he needed to be. The hires that Danny has brought to Amherst have this program marching forward. I am thankful again that Danny does not have the Buffalo mindset to find ways not to succeed.
On the football field, maybe you can criticize for Danny being too loyal. Buffalo under Quinn had the greatest window for success. The MAC had an incredible run in the last half of the first decade of the 2000's. Amazing talent and the MAC football product was the best ever. The first couple of years of the 2010's saw the MAC go back down. But now, other conferences should watch out because the MAC is headed back for an upswing. The conference has sharp young coaches, great athletes, and viable marketing partnerships. Buffalo had an amazing window to make hay on the MAC football field because the sun was shining bright.
Can we drop the garbage that the cupboard was bare when Quinn came to UB? Go back four paragraphs talking about talent in Amherst. The area where Quinn was hamstrung was at the QB position. Quinn inherited Zach Maynard, who with the help of his brother Keenan Allen, transferred to end his college career at Cal. Zach also played professionally in Germany. Before transferring Zach took his lumps in Buffalo to learn the speed of the game, force throws that he should not have, and start to be a leader. We have heard all about Quinn traveling to see Mack to recruit him for his senior season, but Quinn's first task when hired for the Bulls should have been going to convince Maynard to stay.
It may not have worked but it'd be better than Quinn blowing into town like a you-know-what in a china shop preaching "Next Bull In" and "You don't want to be here, get out!" Quinn's first interaction with the fan base soured many and he never regained nor earned the respect of many UB fans.
White gave Quinn the opportunity to succeed. What more can you ask for than that? I am also glad that White took the high road. Not to have a full scale press conference to pick the Quinn carcass. Get an early jump on finding the best candidate possible and move forward.
It is easy to look at the 2013 8-5 record and see success, but does anyone truly believe last year was a success? The Bulls did not beat one decent team. Let's put aside Ohio State and Baylor. I will even not discuss the San Diego State bowl game. Two teams UB had more talent than in 2013 and lost to were Toledo and Bowling Green late in the season. My hat goes off to those two programs. Those two losses showed exactly the ability of the coaching staff: it was abundantly clear this team is not progressing. Watching the team look lost and have large spells of mediocrity is maddening and has been the same the past four and half years with many different players.
White knew that Quinn would not lead this team to the next level. White acted like he has done with every other sport. We can sit and debate what the next level is, but what I want and what White wants is success in the MAC. Not just on the football field but across all sports. I understand the cycles of college football. I just want to see ups to go with the downs. White has sent a message to the Buffalo coaches and players. He is personally setting a standard and will push, pull, drag, coax, or whatever he has to do to see Buffalo excel.
Danny: Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for your vision. Thank you for your belief in Buffalo and pushing hard to make a difference. White is creating a legacy to look back upon with pride. I am going to enjoy the ride. I will get mad with the lows and will cheer with the upcoming highs. I just know that I will be here.