Catching up with Warde
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
As the UB football team traveled to Connecticut in a matchup with the Huskies, it was an opportunity for former athletic director Warde Manuel to take on his former school and reflect on the times he had while at Buffalo. The Spectrum’s Nathaniel Smith and Joseph Konze chatted with Manuel to reflect on how life has been since he’s left UB.
Q: How has life treated you since you left Buffalo?
A: It’s going pretty good. I’m enjoying Connecticut and enjoying the people, getting to know the program, the student athletes. Seven months on the job and it still feels new to me. Going through a season is new, starting a basketball season, seeing all the teams play still feels new to me. But I’m settling down. The family is here and enjoying it, so life is pretty good.
Q: How’s the transition from being in the Mid-American Conference to going to a conference like the Big East?
A: I think the level of resources is different, in terms of what is spent in this league per team, the resources in terms of what television [revenue] brings to the Big East and [Connecticut athletics] has been elevating each year like we did at Buffalo, but they’ve been doing it for a longer time than we have at this level. But other than that it’s the same thing. You have great people around you, great student athletes that are competing every day, and those are the things that are most important. The resources are helpful, don’t get me wrong – money’s always helpful – but it’s the people that are around you that are most important.
Q: When you first came to Buffalo, there were a few teams that were struggling academically, and then you have the case with the UConn men’s basketball team, who’s not going to make the postseason this year due to its low APR score. What have you learned from Buffalo that you are going to use at UConn in terms of the “student” aspect of student-athlete?
A: It starts from recruiting and the tone that’s set when they walk onto campus as freshmen. The coaches and everybody, like at Buffalo, are committed to academic excellence and the university is as well. UConn and Buffalo are great academic institutions and so the commitment is there in the first place. You just have to set the right tone, set the level of expectations and the student athletes have to get to work and do what they need to do in the classroom. The good part about it for me is that even last year’s team, as well as this year’s [basketball] squad – none of them were the cause of the problem. It happened two or three years before, and we are dealing with it and making adjustments.
Q: So, are there any interesting stories in your first few months here in Connecticut?
A: Coming into this job, I knew that this school is an agricultural and farm community, so I was living on the farm in a farmhouse for the first few months. And that was interesting ’cause I’d wake up and there were horses that you can hear down the hill, but it was a great place. There are great people here and they have been really good to me and my family, and I’ve enjoyed it.
Q: Have you kept up with UB Athletics since you moved to Connecticut?
A: I think Danny White is great. I’ve known him and his father for a long time. He has a great pedigree, in terms of understanding, not only as a former student-athlete but also as an administrator. I think Danny is gonna do a great job there. I’ve told President Tripathi and Danny that I could be of help to them … well besides [at the UConn/Buffalo game Saturday]. I want UB to do well in everything that they do. It was a great place for me and my family and, like I said earlier, we miss Buffalo in so many ways, and it will always have a place in my heart because of the things that we did and the people that we’ve met.