Allen Greene named UB athletic director
Greene served as deputy director of athletics under former AD Danny White
As President Satish Tripathi made calls around the country looking for candidates to fill UB’s vacant athletic director position, he said he realized he already had someone in the building who could take control and move the program forward.
And so, as newly named athletic director Allen Greene said Tuesday, “not much is gonna change” in UB Athletics.
Greene, who served as deputy director of athletics under Danny White, was officially named UB’s new AD at a news conference in UB Stadium Tuesday morning. The decision comes one week after White announced he was leaving Buffalo to take the athletic director job at the University of Central Florida and cements the university’s stance of wanting to continue White’s trajectory and not shakeup the program.
“I’m extremely excited to be in this new capacity and help lead all of us to bigger and better things,” Greene said.
Tripathi said he chose Greene as athletic director in part because Greene had been so directly involved with much of the success White and the department had during the past few years.
“With a clear vision for its path onward and upward, he is ready to hit the ground running," Tripathi said.
Greene came with White to UB from the University of Mississippi in 2012 and served his first year in Buffalo as senior associate athletic director of administration before working as deputy AD for the past year and a half. Greene said he worked with White on essentially every major decision the former Buffalo AD made.
“We would hash out our differences and our different perspectives,” Greene said. “Obviously he was the boss so whatever he decided is what we would do. So I’ve got to get used to that side of it.”
Greene was heavily involved in many of the aspects of the job White was considered to be successful at, like fundraising and capitol projects. Greene worked in the UMAA Foundation, Ole Miss athletics’ fundraising arm, for three years before coming to Buffalo and spearheaded UB Athletics’ Facilities Master Plan.
In the past few years, UB Athletics has implemented a new football field turf, created a new premium seating club in UB Stadium, as well as upgraded the men’s and women’s basketball locker rooms. Workers are constructing the expansion of the Murchie Family Football Center in UB Stadium right outside where Greene was introduced Tuesday.
But UB remains without its most needed facility: a field house.
Greene said building a field house on North Campus will remain a top priority during his tenure and that while he can’t give a time frame of when it will happen, there is “behind the scenes work” being done like creating a funding model.
“There is a red stamp that says priority No. 1 and that is stamped everywhere in everyone’s brain,” Greene said. “That is the most important thing right now and we’re working very, very hard to make that come to fruition.”
White will perhaps be most remembered at UB for his rebranding of the athletics department through the New York Bulls Initiative, which empathizes New York rather than Buffalo due to UB’s standing in the state.
Greene was a part of that initiative and said the facts surrounding UB’s place in New York have not changed, but did allude to the university’s current branding initiative and the affects it could have on UB Athletics.
“I know that the university is going through a comprehensive branding and messaging discussion as we speak,” Greene said. “As we go through the branding process, we’ll continue to have discussions about what the next steps are.”
Nancy Paton, vice president for University Communications, told The Spectrum last spring that UB’s current branding initiative and athletics’ NYBI rebrand are not associated with one another.
Tripathi said as part of the branding initiative, UB will re-evaluate all of its brands, like athletics or one of the schools using a different logo.
“It’s important to have our brand and then variation underneath it,” Tripathi said. “But you’ve got to have one consistent brand that people recognize."
Greene, a native of Seattle, Washington, is a former athlete who played baseball at the University of Notre Dame, was drafted by the New York Yankees and played in the minor leagues for three years. After earning his master’s degree from Indiana University South Bend, Greene worked in several positions in Notre Dame’s athletic department when White’s father, Kevin White, was athletic director of the university.
Greene said his experiences at Notre Dame made him realize helping young people achieve success is what he wants to do.
“I knew I wanted to give back in some way, shape or fashion, which is what got me into this industry,” Greene said.
He was also unafraid to show off his personality Tuesday. Whether he was cracking jokes about looking younger than White despite being three years older at age 38, or admitting, “This is awkward” as he posed for a photograph with two student-athletes, Greene was humorous during the press conference. He was also emotional, pausing for 10 seconds during his opening statement before thanking his father for helping him become a man.
Greene’s wife Christy and three children, Samuel, Rian and Seneca, were in attendance at the press conference.
UB’s place in the Mid-American Conference, outside of the Power 5 conferences, presents challenges to an athletics department. The Huffington Post reported that 77 percent of UB Athletics’ finances were subsidized through institutional support and student fees from 2010-14.
“The ability to raise money, the ability to put people in seats, the ability to just provide a world-class experience, it’s always gonna be a challenge. There’s always external forces that we deal with all the time,” Greene said. “Fundraising is critical. It’s very critical as state budgets are shrinking and the support of higher education is shrinking. At the end of the day there are always fires to put out.”
Greene officially assumes his appointment as athletic director on Dec. 12.