UB running back Jared Patterson outruns Eastern Michigan defensive end Jean-Olivier Gagnon-Gordillo in final game of 2005 Bulls football season. (Photo: Paul Hokanson)
Following a national search, Turner Gill —who was part of three national championships as a coach at the University of Nebraska and a Heisman Trophy finalist as a player—has been named head Bulls football coach, Warde Manuel, UB director of athletics, announced.
Most recently player development director with the Green Bay Packers, Gill was one of the nation's top recruiters while an assistant coach at Nebraska from 1992 to 2004. The Cornhuskers won national titles in 1994, 1995 and 1997. With the Packers, he also served as an offensive assistant, with a focus on wide receivers. He began his coaching career at Southern Methodist University as receivers coach in 1991.
A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Gill was the starting quarterback at Nebraska from 1981 to 1983, and led the team to number two and three national rankings. He was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame, was a three-time All Big Eight selection, and was named MVP in the Orange Bowl, Kickoff Classic and Japan Bowl. As quarterback of the Montreal Concordes, he led the CFL team to two playoff berths.
A respected student-athlete, Gill earned Nebraska's Tom Novak Award for outstanding leadership and character, as well as the Herbert Marshall Award for leadership.
This season, UB student-athletes have received a variety of national honors for standing out in both academics and athletics. Men's soccer goalie Daniel Bell was named to the 2005 Academic All-District I University Division Men's Soccer First Team by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Although this is not the first time Bell has been honored by CoSIDA, he is the first UB men's soccer player to be named first team all-district. He currently boasts a 3.5 grade point average and is majoring in political science.
Also receiving academic honors is Aaron Sanders of the football Bulls; he was named to the ESPN.com Academic All-District team, which comprises 23 players who come from New England, Pennsylvania and New York. Sanders has a 3.48 grade point average and is a marketing major. As a member of the Academic All-District team, Sanders will have his name automatically placed on the second ballot for national Academic All-American honors.
Also garnering national honors is Yassin Idbihi, junior forward/center on the men's basketball team. Idbihi, a political science major, was named to the Mid-Major All-America team by www.collegeinsider.com, marking the second straight year a UB player has been so honored. At UB Today press time, Idbihi was named Mid-American Conference East Division Player of the Week, having averaged 19.6 points and 7.3 rebounds for that period.
Coach Jim Lodes is committed to a firm work ethic, while moving to establish UB women's volleyball as a top program in the Mid-American Conference. (Photo: Paul Hokanson)
Settling into his first year as head coach for the UB women's volleyball team, Jim Lodes likes to reflect on the differences between his former job as an assistant coach at the University of North Carolina (UNC) and his new role at UB. Despite the differences in program size and deeply rooted traditions between the two schools, Lodes prefers to focus on the similarities.
“Although there are some minor differences, there are even more similarities,” he says. “Our focus to getting better every day is determined by our work ethic on and off the court.”
However, Lodes does want to bring some things to UB that are part and parcel of the nationally renowned UNC program, which ranked among the nation's top 10 programs during Lodes's tenure there. “We want to establish ourselves as a top program in the [Mid-American Conference] and compete on a national level,” he says. “We need to have the same commitment from our coaching staff and student-athletes that a program like UNC has.”
Daniel Gvertz, BA '06, was a writer and an editor for the Spectrum for two years and also did color commentary for WRUB radio broadcasts of home Bulls basketball games during the 2004–05 season.