Release Date: December 13, 2009
BUFFALO, N.Y. – In the wake of University at Buffalo head football coach Turner Gill accepting the head coaching job at University of Kansas, Director of Athletics Warde Manuel has named Danny Barrett interim head coach while a national search process commences.
"Today is a day that creates many mixed feelings," said Manuel. "I am saddened to see Turner leave us as he has done an absolutely fantastic job of building our football program to unprecedented success upon a value system that we can all be proud of. That being said, I am extremely happy for Turner and his family that they have been granted this opportunity.
"Moving forward I have every confidence that Danny Barrett will provide great leadership for our program while we search for our next head coach," said Manuel. "We will begin a national search immediately to find the best person and football coach to keep us competing for championships on an annual basis while focusing on the efforts of our student-athletes in the classroom. Coach Barrett is a candidate for the position and is the only internal staff member that will be considered."
Gill is expected to be announced head coach at Kansas on Monday. He led Buffalo to its first Division I conference championship and bowl appearance in the program's history when the Bulls shocked the college football world last year by defeating No. 12 Ball State, 42-24 in the Mid-American Conference Championship game. Under his leadership, the Bulls have rewritten most of the school's offensive records and 20 of his players have earned All-MAC honors in four years (after just nine in UB's first seven years in the league). The Bulls compiled an overall record of 20-30 during Gill's tenure, including a 14-18 record in the MAC, after recording a 7-49 record in their first seven seasons in the league prior to his arrival.
Gill said he "will be forever grateful to UB President John Simpson and Athletic Director Warde Manuel for giving me the opportunity to be a head coach. More importantly, I appreciate the support and encouragement they gave me which allowed my staff and I to change the culture in UB's football program.
"I am also extremely appreciative of the players, staff, alumni and community for their support ¬ they are as much a part of our success as anything I did. I am extremely proud of what we accomplished as a program and, along with my family, will cherish the time we spent in Western New York."
Buffalo tied for the MAC East title in 2007, earning him MAC Coach of the Year honors, and then won the MAC East outright in 2008 before upsetting Ball State to earn the program its first conference title. Gill was a finalist for the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award, given to the top coach in the nation, after the 2008 season.
The Bulls have also made major strides in the classroom, compiling the best GPA under Gill's watch since moving up to Division I-A competition in 1999, something not lost on University at Buffalo President John B. Simpson.
"On behalf of the entire University at Buffalo community, I want to thank Turner Gill for the outstanding work he has done as head coach of our football team for the past four years," said Simpson. "Turner has been, in my view, a remarkable leader and a superb role model for our student-athletes. As well, he has been an exceptional member of the university and the Buffalo-Niagara community.
"Turner has done a marvelous job rebuilding our football program and bringing positive national attention to the University, and he leaves our program well-positioned for continued success. We wish him and his family the very best as they pursue this new opportunity."
Gill was named the 23rd head coach in school history on December 16, 2005, taking over a program that had won just 10 games in its first seven years as a Division I-A member.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. 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.