Release Date: January 15, 2008
BUFFALO, NY – University at Buffalo Director of Athletics Warde Manuel announced today that head football coach Turner Gill has received a contract extension through the 2012 season. It is the culmination of negotiations that began after UB's victories on Homecoming and Parents weekend. The contract moves the third-year coach's salary to the top tier of all Mid-American Conference coaches.
Gill, who earned Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year honors this fall after Buffalo's finest season in its Division I-A history, originally signed a five-year contract in December of 2005. The Fort Worth, TX native led Buffalo to a 5-3 record in the MAC in 2007 – including a share of the MAC East Division title with a 4-2 record. The five wins overall were the most by the Bulls since moving up to Division I-A in 1999, and was just one of many milestones achieved by the football team this season.
"I am extremely pleased to reward Turner's outstanding efforts in this way," said Manuel. "He has brought to our football program a winning mentality, stability, confidence and a true vision for excellence both on and off the field. All of the accolades he has received have been richly deserved and I am very happy to know that he will continue to lead our football program for the foreseeable future. On the day we hired Turner I stated that, 'I can't wait to get started with what I think will be a very exciting chapter in Bulls' football history.' I am even more excited about what the future holds for UB football now that I have seen Turner's work over the past two years.
"The answer to the question many have asked me since my arrival on campus regarding whether the university is committed to supporting football at UB is a resounding yes," said Manuel. "As we approach my fourth season of football at UB, I can state unequivocally that we are well-positioned to not only compete, but win championships. While acknowledging the support of our fan base and students who have stood with us through the years, the time has come for more UB alumni, faculty, staff, students and the people of Western New York to become a part of this program. Turner and the team are bringing an exciting brand of Division I-A football and are working to win championships and showcase this region's work ethic, pride and excellence."
UB President John B. Simpson noted that: "Coach Gill has proven himself to be an outstanding ambassador for UB wherever he goes, whether on the playing field or in our surrounding communities. We were delighted to see his leadership recognized with his selection as MAC Coach of the Year—not to mention his significant impact on the academic success of the team and the unprecedented eight student-athletes named to the All-MAC team.
"His commitment to serving our communities, including the leadership role he and his wife Gayle have taken in partnering with the Buffalo school system to create new opportunities for youth in our region, plays just as important a role in advancing the UB vision," said Simpson. "Those achievements and contributions are a source of pride for all of us at UB—and indeed, for Bulls fans and UB alumni and supporters everywhere. "
Buffalo enjoyed its first winning record at home since moving up to Division I-A and its two MAC road wins were also its best effort since joining the conference. Gill, who also served as the offensive coordinator, directed an offense that scored 291 points - the most in its I-A history and just 28 points shy of the all-time school record. Junior quarterback Drew Willy (Randolph, NJ/Randolph) completed a school-record 258 passes and had the highest pass efficiency rating in school history and sophomore running back James Starks (Niagara Falls, NY/Niagara Falls) became the Bulls' first 1,000-yard rusher in the I-A era with 1,103 yards.
In addition, Buffalo had eight players selected to the All-MAC teams after having just seven in their first eight years of conference play. The Bulls had eight MAC Players of the Week had two players on national semifinal "watch lists" – Ben Woods (Ray Guy Award) and Trevor Scott (Ted Hendricks Award), while senior center Jamey Richard played in the Hula Bowl and has been invited to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Scott also has been chosen to play in the Texas vs. The Nation Game in El Paso on Feb. 2. The Bulls are expected to return 18 starters – including four All-MAC selections – in 2008.
"I am grateful to President John Simpson and Athletic Director, Warde Manuel for extending my contract and their commitment to both myself and the football program," said Gill. "It is great to know they are as committed to the staff as we are to them. I feel very honored to be at this outstanding university."
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.