Former UB head coach Lance Leipold agreed to become the head football coach at the University of Kansas six days ago, and the Bulls’ football program is feeling the effects of his big move.
Five members of UB’s roster have entered the transfer portal following Leipold’s departure, according to Rivals. The list includes junior center Mike Novitsky, senior defensive tackle Eddie Wilson, junior defensive tackle Tyrece Woods, recently-committed graduate transfer defensive tackle Lamonte McDougle and senior linebacker Tim Terry.
UB’s coaching staff will also reportedly undergo radical changes in response to Leipold’s departure.
Seven assistant coaches are expected to join Leipold in Kansas, according to Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports. The list includes interim head coach/recruiting coordinator Rob Ianello, defensive coordinator/safeties coach Brian Borland, offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Andy Kotelnicki, co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Chris Simpson, co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski, special teams coordinator/defensive ends coach Taiwo Onatolu and offensive line coach Scott Fuchs.
UB had its most successful season in program history last year, finishing with a 6-1 record, a Camellia Bowl victory and a top-25 ranking in a shortened season. Both the offense and defense reached new heights for the Bulls in 2020, and the coaching staff was widely praised for the team’s success.
The Bulls averaged a school-record 478.4 yards per game and ranked fifth in the nation in scoring, at 43.4 points per contest.
UB also led the Mid-American Conference in total defense (360.4 yards per game) and were tied for first in the nation with four defensive touchdowns.
Leipold’s departure and the subsequent changes on UB’s staff have undoubtedly resulted in Novitsky, Wilson, Woods, McDougle and Terry’s decision to enter the transfer portal.
A first-team All-MAC selection in 2020, Novitsky anchored an offensive line that ranked second in the nation in rushing, at 287.4 yards per game, and allowed just one sack all season.
Wilson recorded 21 tackles and a sack en route to third-team All-MAC honors last season. The 6-foot-4, 325 lb. defensive tackle had 56 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in three seasons at UB.
Woods became a rotational defensive tackle and had 18 tackles and 3.5 sacks in two seasons with the Bulls. Woods recorded his best performance of the 2020 season against Ball State in the MAC Championship Game, when he tallied six tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks.
McDougle, a graduate transfer from Washington State, began his collegiate career at West Virginia and never played a down of football for UB. The defensive lineman committed to UB on April 19 before announcing his decommitment from Buffalo after Leipold made the move to Kansas.
Terry, a 6-foot-2, 225 lb. outside linebacker from Pittsburgh, worked his way into the Bulls’ starting lineup in 2019, but was limited to one start in 2020. The senior recorded 21 tackles and a fumble recovery during the abridged season.
In a Zoom call with members of the local media Friday, UB Athletic Director Mark Alnutt said he intended to hire a new head coach before the players go home after finals week, which ends on May 15.
This gives UB approximately 10 days to hire a new head coach.
With that self-imposed deadline quickly approaching, the pressure is on UB to hire the right coach in a timely manner.
Anthony DeCicco is the senior sports editor for The Spectrum. In his free time, he can be found playing video games, watching ‘90s Knicks games and arguing with people on NBA Twitter at 3 a.m.