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SportForm articles compiled by Jennifer Gillan, BA ’ 07.
Warde Manuel and his wife, Chrislan, at awards ceremony.
Warde J. Manuel, UB director of athletics, is one of 25 individuals selected by Street and Smith Sports Business Journal to be among its national “Forty Under 40” award winners. These honor the best and brightest executives in the sports business industry under the age of 40. Manuel received the award March 14 in Beverly Hills, CA.
In his three years as director of athletics, Manuel has led the Bulls program to several national honors. He has increased the focus on academics by creating a new study center, quadrupling the investment in tutorial support and doubling the number of computers available to student athletes. Last fall, UB student athletes achieved their highest average cumulative GPA since 2004 and the second highest since joining the Mid-American Conference (MAC) in 1999. In addition, the football team last fall posted the highest GPA in its Division I-A history.
Meanwhile, the 2007 football program had its best year since moving up to the Division I-A level and joining the MAC, gaining a share of the MAC East Division title for the first time in school history. In other achievements, the women’s tennis team and the men’s soccer team have advanced to the MAC Championships twice since Manuel’s arrival at UB. The baseball team completed its most successful MAC season in school history in 2007, and the women’s rowing squad finished its best season in 2006, matching it again in 2007.
Manuel was also influential in bringing in talented new coaches to the Blue and White, including head football coach Turner Gill. He also provided leadership that resulted in the department securing two of its five largest financial gifts. These are the $500,000 gift from Robert G. and Carol L. Morris that allowed UB to double its current weight-room space with the addition of a sports performance center adjacent to UB Stadium, and a $640,000 gift from Harold Ortman that will benefit the men’s and women’s tennis programs.