Danny White Becomes Buffalo’s New Athletic Director
Published: Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
After a three-month search by the university and a committee headed by Parker Executive Search and vice president for university life and services Dennis Black, UB has centered on a new person to head its athletics program.
In a packed house at the screening room in the Center for the Arts, Daniel J. White was introduced as the new athletics director during a press conference on Tuesday. He will replace interim Athletic Director John Lambert and former Athletic Director Warde Manuel. Manuel took a similar position at the University of Connecticut.
At 32, White will be the youngest athletic director in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) ranks. But in his short time, the New Orleans native has had numerous jobs at many different campuses around the country.
White has had administrative stops at Fresno State, where he managed the Bulldog Foundation, and Northern Illinois, where he managed the Huskie Athletic Scholarship. He also helped in the completion of a state-of-the-art, $14 million Academic and Athletic Performance Center at Northern Illinois.
White comes to Buffalo from the University of Mississippi, where he has served as the senior associate athletics director, as well as executive director of the UMAA Foundation, which raised record-earning amounts in the last two years: $17.1 million in 2010 and $17.5 million in 2011. He is also working to complete his doctorate in higher education from Ole Miss.
White also has an athletic background in basketball. He started as a player – he played at Towson University for two years before transferring to Notre Dame where he made the NCAA tournament. After graduating, White’s next step was to be the director of basketball operations for men’s basketball at Ohio University in the 2003-04 season.
The very next season, White was promoted to an assistant coach position – a season that saw the Bulls miss out on a chance at the NCAA tournament from an Ohio tip-in at the buzzer, giving the Bobcats the Mid-American Conference title and the NCAA bid.
College athletics is also part of the White family business. His father, Kevin, is director of athletics at Duke University. He has two siblings involved in intercollegiate athletics, too – his brother Brian is the associate athletics director at Louisiana Tech and his brother Michael is the head men’s basketball coach at the same university.
“I’m a product of intercollegiate athletics,” White said. “I grew up around coaches and student-athletes on college campuses. I think it’s such a great culture and as a result I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity.”
With his experience in the marketing aspect, as well as the coaching and administrative, White was the perfect choice for the job, according to President Satish K. Tripathi.
“He knows the world of intercollegiate athletics from nearly every vantage point,” Tripathi said in a statement. “And perhaps more importantly, he has a special understanding of the role that a competitive athletics program plays in the success of a major AAU institution. He has a keen recognition of UB’s great potential – and what it will take to realize this promise as we continue our pursuit of excellence.”
In his introductory press conference, White stressed the importance of being “student-athlete centered,” catering fully to the needs of those participating in varsity sports, and “operating with a tremendous amount of character and dignity.” He also let the audience know that support from an alumni base of over 200,000 is important for the area.
Even though Buffalo is in a smaller conference and market that is considered by many to be a “pro sports” town, White is confident that there can be improvements in raising the national profile of UB.
“The sky’s the limit,” White said. “We’ve seen examples in the modern history of college athletics where athletic departments in similar-sized markets – some even smaller – have made huge strides as it relates to their national profile. We can do the same thing here. There is no limit to how high we can take UB athletics, and that’s something that’s very exciting to me.”
White will begin his term sometime in June.