This time yesterday Bucky Gleason had no idea who Mark Alnutt was, but that didn't stop the Buffalo news columnist for taking Alnutt’s hiring as a chance to, once again, throw a tantrum and run down everyone and everything he does not like about Athletics.
And the thing of it is, I’m not even sure where I am on Alnutt yet. There are a hundred reasons to question this hire. He could be great, he could be average, most everyone not involved in the search for a director has done little more than read his bio from the Memphis athletics site.
So yeah, go ahead and ask questions. We all have them.
Bucky is not a guy who ask questions and looks for answers. He is someone paid by the Buffalo news to lop feces around the room and his acolytes online eat it up. Any change in the department is a chance for him to throw his thesis out there: That UB dropping football to FCS makes us the GOAT in Buffalo. If you want to see this debunked, watch the video below. After the video I will go through the tripe he put out hours after UB hired a new Athletics director.
Ok... onto the show.
Alnutt came across how you hoped a top administrator would conduct himself in his first news conference. He sounded professional and had his priorities in order while striking the proper balance between academics and athletics. He hit the right notes, cracked a few jokes and answered a few questions before he whisked away.
I agree. I had other names in mind and was disappointed it was not one of them. But, by the time the press conference was over, Alnutt got me to the point where I’m interested in what he will do.
Evidently, even Alnutt thought his first day was easier than expected. He’ll learn soon enough that the job is far more difficult. UB for years has been trying to tap into the community’s obsession with sports but so far has gained little traction outside of the men’s and women’s basketball.
UB’s bowl game in 2008 was one of the most watched bowl games of the season. The Bulls have shown, time and time again, that when they win they can draw a crowd. The school’s issue is they have not won consistently enough to build a base.
Football can’t have a good season every five years and hold a crowd. But, if they become what UB hoops has become — a top 4 MAC team pretty much every year — then attendance will pick up.
The more he talked Wednesday, the more it was obvious: UB hired someone willing to conform to its flawed football vision. Alnutt clearly told university President Satish Tripathi what he wanted to hear, not what he needed to hear. He arrived like others before him who had high hopes before they were greeted by harsh reality.
That part in Bold is called a “begging the question fallacy.” UB’s football vision is not flawed and saying where it needs to be is not proof of that. Notice how Bucky removed agency from Alnutt. Maybe it’s not that “he was willing to conform.” Maybe it’s a vision he already shared.
Bucky took a grown, competent, experienced man and reduced him to a dancing minstrel begging people for favor.
Alnutt showed an abundance of intelligence and charm Wednesday that should serve him well. This is nothing against him, but UB didn’t need an outsider in this particular case. It needed someone who knew Western New York from the inside and understood the region’s attitude toward college football in particular.
The last three UB athletic directors have not been Western New York Guys. Yes Warde Manuel, Danny White, and Allen Greene took UB from a barely functional athletic department and turned it into a solid Division I mid-major across the board.
Since UB started to hire “outsiders,” they have had more winning football seasons and postseason football games than the Buffalo Bills. We have won championships in Football, Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, Swimming, and other sports.
This “we need a local guy” act is getting old and it’s been disproved by three athletic directors and 13 years of improving quality across the board.
I’m not against hiring a local for the spot, in fact I can think of two I was looking forward to, but, at the end of the day, it’s not a must have.
The new AD said he asked himself a question when the job became available after Allen Greene left for Auburn: Why Buffalo? His simple response Wednesday: “Why not?” He sounded like he was taking an impromptu vacation, confirming he knew little about UB athletics and almost nothing about the region.
Alright, I’m going to give this one to Bucky, I cringed when I heard that answer. He passed up a chance to praise the university. But, to be honest, I suspect that was more a style move than it was a lack of knowledge.
Time will tell.
Obviously, he had much to learn. Alnutt talked about bringing stability to a university in continuous upheaval with so many coaches and administrators staying long enough to pad their resumes before leaving. If the school really wanted stability, it would have hired someone already invested in the region.
The difference between Bucky and I is that I prize stable growth and he prizes stagnation.
I’m very happy with where UB is today, and if it were not for a Michigan man, and two Southern Mississippi men, we wouldn’t be here.
The first sign UB wasn’t interested in people with ties to Buffalo came when it hired Parker Executive Search, a firm based in Atlanta. The company whittled down the list of candidates. Tripathi, a renowned computer scientist who has been in Buffalo for nearly 15 years but knows little about college athletics, supposedly made the final decision. To me, it reeked of an inside job with the firm determining Alnutt was next in line.
Tell me Bucky, what nationally scaled search firms are based in Buffalo? Why in the world do you run down other people with these subtle jabs.
“Tripathi ‘supposedly’ made the final decision.”
No, he made the decision. He may have listened to others but he is the big man in charge. To borrow from personal experience. I know my systems 100 times better than the director of my department. When a decision needs to be made on my infrastructure he asks me what I think and I give him my insight. Most of the time he goes with my recommendations, sometimes he does not.
He does not “supposedly” make the final decision. He makes them and he owns them. But, once again for your narrative to hold true, you need to turn real people into caricatures. Five paragraphs ago you were saying that Alnutt came in because he would bend to Tripathi and company. Now you say Tripathi is a rubber stamp figurehead.
Make up your mind.
It was funny how the production Wednesday was staged in the Buffalo Room in Capen Hall considering how few in the room truly knew Buffalo. Most were outsiders such as Tripathi, academic types who had advanced degrees that confirmed their intelligence and disguised their ignorance when it comes to this community.
Hey look at that... A no true Scottsman argument...
Is Bucky aware that “academic types” who live their adult life in Buffalo, serving the community and teaching the next generation can also be people who know Buffalo. Casting away Tripathi is really sickening and The Buffalo News should be ashamed of the ink they used to print Bucky’s attack on him.
Buffalo is a quirky place that doesn’t suffer fools or phonies lightly
Well Bucky is still there, and we still suffer.
It may not be the best place or the most beautiful place, but it’s our place.
I beg to differ. If I worked in a field with more work in Buffalo I would move back in a minute. It is beautiful and the people are wonderful. It’s not some quirky run down shack with “character.”
The people here see its inner beauty and understand other intangible qualities that are better experienced than explained.
Buffalo has inner and outer beauty and the “academic types” in the Buffalo Room experience them just as much as you do.
No matter how many coaches and athletic directors insisted they would change the football culture, no matter how many times the program has been praised for playing a style far more exciting than what you see in the NFL, the needle hasn’t budged in years.
In what has become a very typical Buffalo News article attacking the very existence of FBS football, Bucky talks about all the praise?
For whatever reason, the community has refused to engage. Blame the region, not the university.
Or blame the paper that turned the 2013 UB preview piece into a critique of the “New York” patch on the uniforms. They could have talked about Khalil Mack or Branden Oliver, two guys destined for the NFL, but no, they did a fashion critique and a “I hate Danny White” shout out.
Oh... Speaking of Danny white.
Danny White arrived as athletic director with great expectations, too, and raised millions of dollars that made no tangible difference. Greene had a similar experience breaking ground on an $18 million fieldhouse that UB prays will be a game-changer for football. Despite all the money raised and spent, doubts persist.
Once again, Gleason is attacking our former Athletic Director who hired Bobby Hurley (over the screeching of the Buffalo News) and created the successful concert tailgate series (over the screeching of the Buffalo News).
To say that White made no tangible difference takes a type of purposeful obtuseness that I can’t fathom. Not only was a lot of the field house money raised under White, he also built several other facilities upgrades.
You’ll hear people say how much revenue football generates, but it has been a financial loser for years. You’ll see attendance figures for tickets sold when only a fraction of the total includes people in the stands.
Pick one... Do you care about money or butts in the seats?
I don’t really care which you pick. But we’re selling more tickets and there are more people in the seats. Did we get 22,000 people in the seats week in and week out? No., but we got more under White than we had under Warde and more under Warde than we had before.
It’s disheartening, but UB has been unwavering in its commitment to football and its place in the MAC, even though better options could be available. During several recent conversations that I had with people associated with the Atlantic 10, many agreed UB would be an good fit for that conference for basketball and other sports.
To be honest, I’m not opposed to being in the A-10 for other sports and independent for football like UMass. It’s not going to generate any more revenue (see the video above) but the schools are located more along the east coach where our Alumni live. Bucky stretches the truth a bit here. There are maybe three schools that remotely resemble UB in the A-10.
UMass, VCU, and George Mason.
Everyone else in the A10 is private or too small to be a “good fit” with Buffalo.
Look, I want to see UB football succeed as much as anyone. Imagine a full stadium and the excitement that comes with winning. It would be good for university. It would be good for Buffalo. It would be good for business, including my business.
I don’t believe this. I’m sorry.
When Bucky Gleason took over for Mark Gaughn at UB home games this season the quality of the coverage cratered. There were several games this season where his in game twitter feed contained five or six tweets, several of those were about crowd size. I think Bucky just doesn’t care about college football. He’d rather cover anything else. To him, UB football is a bother.
The thing that really got me here is that this is nothing but a reflexive and recitative piece by Bucky. We learn little or nothing about UB’s new Athletic director and are instead force fed even more FBS hate form Gleason.
I don’t know if Mark Alnutt is going to be as successful as Manuel, White and Greene or not.
But I do know he deserved better than to have Bucky Gleason try to run him over for the sake of attacking FBS football and Danny White.