BUFFALO, NY — Bishop Timon-St. Jude has named former University at Buffalo quarterback Joe Licata as its new athletic director and football coach, the school announced late Friday night.
Licata replaces Charlie Comerford, who stepped down from the same positions last month because of his displeasure with the school's handling of former principal Michele Battin.
"I'm very excited — it's a fantastic opportunity at a very historic school that has had a lot of success athletically, and developing young men," Licata told WGRZ over the phone from his family's cottage at Crystal Beach. "It's a great opportunity for a guy like myself who who loves sports and loves working with young people."
The 24-year-old Licata graduated from Williamsville South and then UB, before landing a try-out with the Bills during a rookie camp and signing with the Bengals as undrafted free-agent in 2016. He was released by Cincinnati in its first round of cuts.
"My end goal was always to work with student athletics at the high school level," Licata said. "Even when I was in college, sitting down having meeting with coaches asking what my future plans were, the only thing I knew was I wanted to coach high school football. I have no desire to coach in college — at this point in time — I never have. I've always wanted to work with that high school age athletes, making a difference at the age is something that I think is very special."
There's no ignoring that Licata is coming to Timon at an interesting time.
Comerford and basketball coach Desmond Randall both resigned from their positions, leaving the future of Timon athletics up in the air. Timon's class sizes continue to get smaller and smaller, and rumors have swirled about students transferring.
"It's a little bit of a different situation," Licata said. "The thing that's really helping me out is the support of the people at Timon, and the support from the followers of Timon, the people of South Buffalo. People have already been reaching out to me about how excited they are for this new era at Timon.
"There's a little bit of challenge, yeah, but with the support system I have around me personally in my family and with the fans at Timon and supporters of Timon, and even the students, I think we're in a great situation."