University at Buffalo is well known for its academic record
as a leading research institution, but our academic success
is complemented by a rich tradition of excellence in athletics.
In 1999, we further strengthened that tradition by stepping
up to compete at the highest rank of intercollegiate athletics,
the NCAA Division I-A. This was not UB’s first foray into
major college sports—far from it. The UB football team
competed at the highest level until 1970, when the program
was dropped completely for seven years before joining
Division III. Our recent return to the top section makes
us the first of New York State’s public universities to
field a Division I-A football team. This fall, our football
team won its first game at the nationally renowned Mid-American
Conference (MAC) and named Jim Hofher as UB’s 23rd football
strength in athletics, however, extends far beyond the football
field. The university has competed at Division I in all
athletics programs since 1991. We have 20 sports for the
2000–2001 season, including baseball, softball, volleyball,
swimming, cross-country and track and field. Each and every
member of these teams is working hard to build our community’s
pride in our school. They are all committed to putting UB
athletics on the map, and they are succeeding:
This year, the women’s soccer team won UB’s first-ever
regular season Mid-American Conference championship, tying
the school record for wins with 14-6-1.
In its season opener, the women’s basketball team defeated
22nd-ranked North Carolina in front of a record 4,017 fans
at Alumni Arena—the first-ever major sports win over an
Atlantic Coast Conference school for men’s or women’s basketball.
As of press time, the team posted an 8-0 record for the
2000–2001 season, the best starting record in the illustrious
history of UB women’s basketball. The team has a record
of 188 wins, 94 losses over the past decade.
The men’s tennis team went unbeaten during the fall season
with a perfect 7-0 score.
The UB wrestling team began the year by winning the highly
regarded Bloomsburg Invitational for the first time and
earned votes in the InterMat Wrestling Top 25 poll after
finishing 11-5 last year.
these firsts add up to a strong program, one that balances
women’s sports and men’s sports and seeks to serve—first
and foremost—the needs of our scholar-athletes. Some of
our star athletes come from the teams mentioned above, teams
that receive less attention than football, but that are
just as crucial to student life and student pride:
This year, the wrestling team recruited the wrestler ranked
number one in the nation; two other wrestlers were ranked
first in MAC individual ratings.
The men’s tennis team sent the first two athletes ever to
the prestigious Rolex Collegiate Championships.
Four players from the women’s soccer team earned All-Conference
honors and head coach Jean-Arnaud Tassy was named MAC Coach
of the Year.
One of our women’s basketball team members was chosen for
the preseason All-MAC Women’s Basketball Team.
kind of achievement shows how far UB has come in the short
time since the Division III era ended in 1991. We may not
yet have the high profile of some schools in Division I,
but we are creating a community with tried-and-true academic
strength, boosted by an excellent all-around athletics program.
UB enrolls the best and the brightest students and serious
scholar-athletes. As a result, our graduation rate for the
latest NCAA cycle (1992–96) was 81.7 percent, nearly 25
percent higher than the national average of 58 percent for
Division I athletes. We need to continue this tradition
of recruiting student-athletes who excel at scholarship
and attracting outstanding undergraduates who appreciate
and participate in a wide spectrum of sports.
than chasing recognition, we at UB seek what’s best for
the entire university community. This means we must pick
honest, hardworking and reliable coaches and team members,
people who understand and follow the university’s goals
of diversity, growth and education. In Division I, we are
competing with the nation’s top schools, and so we will
face losses as well as victories in the coming years. What
is of paramount importance, however, is that we build a
competitive and yet responsible athletics program across
the board, one that benefits our scholar-athletes, student
fans and alumni, while also keeping scholastic excellence
at the forefront of our mission.