The hunt for an athletic director

UB continues to look for an athletic director; Kathy Twist serves in interim

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UB has still not announced the new athletic director after news broke on Jan. 17 that Allen Greene would be leaving to become AD at Auburn University, a top Division-I sports school. The ongoing search is not new to UB after the previous two ADs had tenures shorter than three years. Kathy Twist is serving as interim director until a new director is announced.

The president's office created a search committee for a new director on Feb. 7. The committee includes coaches, administrators, athletes, professors and other university staff. All committee members declined to comment on the search’s progress.

“Because of the confidentiality of the search process, the search committee cannot comment on potential candidates,” said Beth Del Genio, the president's chief of staff and committee co-chair. “But I can say that our focus is on recruiting an outstanding person for this important leadership position at UB.”

Experience in NCAA Division-I sports, marketing, public relations and finances are all necessary, according to UB’s website. Commitment to diversity, expectation of competitive success and strong communication skills are also listed. Del Genio said all public information on the situation will be shared through the website.

“I think [the search committee] is considering everyone on the table,” Twist said. “Right now I am going to do this job the best I can. I do want to be an AD someday; for now I want to make sure I am doing this job very well.”

Twist took over shortly after Greene’s departure from UB. Twist has been working at UB since 1994, when she became assistant coach for the women’s tennis team. She went on to become the women’s tennis coach for 16 seasons and was the winningest coach in program history. Before taking the role as interim AD, Twist was the senior associate athletic director for sport administration and senior woman administrator.

Twist said the transition into the interim role was smooth, as she was already familiar with UB athletics and everyone involved.

“Student athlete experience has always been my focus so I want to make sure that it is going to be the best it can possibly be, whether that is academics or athletics,” Twist said. “You do that by building the team around the team like coaches and academic advisors, and I really want to keep that going.”

Twist said winning is also a priority, and she looks toward building facilities if needed. During Greene’s tenure he announced the Murchie Family Field House, planned for completion in spring 2019.

While Twist believes her history at UB is a benefit for her as interim AD, others feel experience with the school is not necesary.

“In terms of a new athletic director, where they are originally from is irrelevant,” said sophomore UB volleyball player Hannah Watson. “What matters is where they intend to go during their time as the leader of the division of athletics here at the University at Buffalo.”

Watson, who played two complete seasons with the Bulls, is the acting spirit officer for UB’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. The committee acts under the NCAA and is made up of Division-I student athletes. Every conference is required to have a member on the national SAAC board.

UB’s SAAC council is part of the search committee. SAAC’s role in the process is to give student athletes a voice in the project. Watson said Greene developed a new sense of unity in the department with athletes, staff and alumni. Watson is not part of the SAAC representatives in the committee, but said she hopes to see the communication established in the department by Greene continue.

“I and many other student-athletes are thankful for Allen Greene’s contributions to building the reputation and culture of the University at Buffalo’s division of athletics and wish him nothing but the best at Auburn University,” Watson said.

The committee will continue its search with multiple teams now preparing for MAC championships.

Thomas Zafonte is the senior sports editor and can be reached at thomas.zafonte@ubspectrum.com.

@Thomas_Spectrum