By Nick Veronica
UB athletic director Danny White made another bold move Monday, announcing he had selected Lance Leipold to become the school’s new football coach.
Leipold comes to Buffalo from Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he has won five national championships since 2007. Leipold’s record there is an outstanding 106-6, giving him more wins since 2007 than UB football has in its history (98).
“What’s important to me is having credibility in your sport,” White said at press conference in Alumni Arena Monday afternoon. “What do other coaches think of you? Because I think that impacts your ability to build a staff. What do prospective recruits think of you?
“I asked a lot of questions to a lot of influential people in the sport of football, and Lance Leipold is extremely well-respected across the country. What he’s done is a pretty amazing story. That’s an unprecedented amount of success in the game. I think he brings an awful lot of credibility to our program.”
“I’m sure there will be a little bit [of a learning curve],” White added, “but I don’t think it will be significant.”
Leipold said he will finish out the season at UW-Whitewater, which has a national quarterfinal game on Saturday. White said he made the announcement Sunday night with a Monday press conference so Leipold could return to his team as soon as possible.
Leipold met with players early Monday morning but said he didn’t take any questions from them. He will review the remaining staff in the near future.
“We will be moving quickly on making decisions about staff … I can tell already interest will be high,” Leipold said.
White wouldn’t say if Alex Wood, the interim coach after Jeff Quinn’s firing, was given serious consideration for the job.
“In this scenario I was looking for someone who had previous head coaching experience,” White said earlier in the press conference. “That’s something important for us because we feel we’re very close [to taking the next step] as a program, the players we have, we don’t feel like this is a ‘hit the reset button and rebuild the program.’ We feel like we’re really close, so we wanted somebody who already knows how to drive the truck, because it’s a pretty healthy truck.”
When asked why his D-III success would transfer to Division I, Leipod motioned to the UB players in stands. They’re bigger and faster than his D-III players, but “football is football,” he said.
Leipold grew up 15 minutes away from UW-Whitewater’s campus and played quarterback for them. His parents and sister also attended the school.
Before coaching at UW-Whitewater, Leipold was a graduate assistant at Wisconsin, an assistant coach and coordinator at Division II Nebraska-Omaha, then spent time at Nebraska before returning to Nebraska-Omaha. He and his wife Kelly have a daughter, Lindsey, and a son, Landon.Follow @NickVeronica