AMHERST, N.Y.-University at Buffalo athletic director Warde Manuel is leaving. Manuel will be introduced tomorrow as the new athletic director at the University of Connecticut.
Manuel has been the AD at UB for the past six years. In that time UB athletics have had unparalleled success on and off the field.
Buffalo enjoyed great on-field success during Manuel's time as the football team participated in the 2009 International Bowl and the men's basketball team made postseason appearances in three of the past seven years.
Bulls basketball coach Reggie Witherspoon, out of town on a recruiting trip had this reaction to Manuel's departure. "I'm really happy for Warde and really proud that he could find good fortune at one of the higher-profile schools in the country. Advancing from UB to Connecticut is something that UB alumni and Western New Yorkers can be proud of, but at the same time, we will miss him greatly. He worked hard and fought hard for a greater presence for UB Athletics and I'm sure he'll do the same thing at UConn."
Manuel will sign a five year contract with Connecticut. He will be paid 450-thousand dollars per year. Manuel is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. He played football at the University of Michigan for legendary coach Bo Schembechler.
Manuel and his wife, Chrislan, have a daughter, Emma (17), and a son, Evan (13).
University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi issued the following statement Monday:
While it is difficult to bid farewell to such a valued colleague and university citizen, Warde's selection to lead one of the nation's top Division I programs reflects the national reputation he has achieved through his outstanding leadership and impressive achievements here at UB.
Since his appointment in July 2005, Warde has served our university and the UB Division of Athletics with distinction, raising UB athletics' national profile and helping to build a nationally competitive Division I program dedicated to the pursuit of academic and athletic excellence.
Warde's intense commitment to excellence -- on and off the field -- has been evident across UB men's and women's athletics programs. The impressive accomplishments achieved under his watch include the 2008 football team's Mid-American Conference Championship and first bowl game appearance in UB's history with the 2009 International Bowl. In 2007, under Warde's leadership, the UB Athletics Department became the only school in the nation that year to be named a Program of Excellence by the NCAA Division I-A Athletic Directors.
With a strong focus on academics always at the forefront, Warde also has overseen a substantial investment in facility additions and renovations that have contributed immensely to our student-athletes' academic and athletic experience.
A national search for a new athletic director will begin immediately. We will update the university community regarding an interim director within the week.
In the meantime, I know I speak for our entire university community in extending my sincere thanks, congratulations and best wishes to Warde as he takes on this new leadership opportunity. Please join me in wishing Warde and his family much happiness and continued success as they prepare for this exciting transition.