Warde Manuel Leaves UB for UConn

February 12, 2012 Updated Feb 12, 2012 at 8:55 PM EDT

By WKBW Sports


Warde Manuel Leaves UB for UConn

February 12, 2012 Updated Feb 12, 2012 at 8:55 PM EDT

Buffalo (WKBW.com) UB has confirmed that athletics director Warde Manuel is leaving the school to accept the same position at the University of Connecticut.

Manuel was hired by UB in 2005 and helped lead the Bulls athletic programs to new heights during his six years in Amherst. Under Manuel's leadership the football program won a Mid-American Conference Championship in 2008, and participated in the 2009 International Bowl. Also the men's basketball team has made postseason appearances in three of the last seven seasons.

Manuel will be introduced at UConn on Monday morning during a news conference scheduled for 10:30. UB has announced that the school intends to launch a national search for a new athletic director.

Bulls men's basketball coach Reggie Witherspoon released this statement on Sunday night. "I'm really happy for Warde and really proud that he could find good fortune at one of the higher-profile schools in the country., said Witherspoon. "Advancing from UB to Connecticut is something that UB alumni and Western New Yorkers can be proud of, but at the same time, we will miss him greatly. He worked hard and fought hard for a greater presence for UB Athletics and I'm sure he'll do the same thing at UConn."

Below is the release from UConn on the addition of Manuel.

STORRS, CT - (UConn Release) Warde J. Manuel, who has had a distinguished career in intercollegiate athletics that ranges from being a student-athlete to a director of athletics, has been named the new Director of Athletics at the University of Connecticut by President Susan Herbst.

Manuel, a 1990 graduate of the University of Michigan where he played both football and track and field, has most recently been the Director of Athletics at the University at Buffalo for the past six years.

“We are incredibly proud and thrilled that Warde will be joining the Husky family,” said Herbst. “UConn is one of the great American universities, and our athletics program is the envy of many. It’s because of this that we were able to attract an amazing pool of candidates from across the nation – and an ideal, stand-out candidate of Warde’s exceptionally high caliber. He will play an integral, and even transformational, role in the future of UConn athletics. It’s a great day for this university.”

Manuel led a 20-sport program at Buffalo, an institution that is a member of the prestigious American Association of Universities. Buffalo enjoyed an unparalleled period of success during his time there, from an athletic, academic, and community service perspective.

“I am so honored and excited to come to the University of Connecticut,” said Manuel. “UConn is synonymous with greatness, excellence, and achievement. It is without a doubt one of the legendary schools that is at the pinnacle of intercollegiate athletics. The opportunity to be the athletics director at UConn and lead this extraordinary division is the role of a lifetime. You have remarkable coaches, great leadership, outstanding student-athletes, and a wonderful base of fans, alumni, and supporters. Our focus will be on academic success, compliance, ensuring great relationships with our fans, friends, and supporters and, without a doubt, victory on the field and the court. My family and I are so happy to call UConn home.”

From an academic standpoint, teams at Buffalo enjoyed incredible academic success. When Manuel arrived at UB, there were four programs – football, men’s basketball, wrestling, and baseball – that fell far below the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) cut score of 925. With a focused academic plan, all four teams posted a four-year APR rate above the cut score, and at the end of 2009-10, 10 of UB’s 20 sports had scores of 975 or above.

Buffalo enjoyed great on-field success during Manuel’s time, as the football team participated in the 2009 International Bowl and the men’s basketball team made postseason appearances in three of the past seven years. Olympic sports also thrived under Manuel’s leadership, with accomplishments such as three-straight Dad Vail Regatta titles by the rowing team; six wrestlers earning spots at the 2011 NCAA Championship; and the women’s tennis team making an appearance in the 2008 NCAA tournament. The sports of baseball and softball won a record number of games during his tenure, and student-athletes earned All-American and all-conference honors at record rates.

Under Manuel’s direction, UB student-athletes, coaches, and staff are committed to community outreach, and developed a comprehensive outreach program that reached across social and economic borders. UB student-athletes, coaches, and administrators conduct over 2,500 community service hours in the Western New York community on an annual basis. UB’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) also coordinates 16 community service projects per year including internal campus-related projects and external community projects. Each of Buffalo’s 20 athletic teams also conduct at least one community service project per year.

Kevin White, Vice President and Director of Athletics at Duke University, said of Manuel’s appointment, “Simply said, Warde Manuel represents a brilliant appointment at UConn! Warde has very quickly become one of the most respected leaders within college athletics. He is strong and determined, perhaps humble to a fault, highly empathetic, certainly task-oriented, and inordinately passionate about providing the very best student-athlete experience possible. Above all of that, Warde is a guy that – all day, every day – simply ‘drips with integrity.’ Unequivocally, the Huskies couldn’t have made a better hire!”

Manuel was honored by Sports Business Journal as a 2008 national 40-Under-40 honoree, after receiving the same honor from Business First of Buffalo in fall 2007. Manuel has served on a number of national and conference committees and boards.

In September 2011, he was one of only three athletic directors asked to serve on the Collegiate Model Rules committee, a working group of the Division I Committee on Academic Performance, charged with broad overview of the current NCAA Rules Manual.

He also currently serves on the NCAA Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet, and served for four years as a member of the NCAA’s Academic Cabinet. During that time, he was selected as Chair of the NCAA Academic Eligibility & Compliance Transfer Ad Hoc Committee. He is a member of the Boards of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and the D1A Athletic Directors Association. He also serves as a member of the Council of Presidents Budget & Finance Committee, and served for three years as the Chair of the Mid-American Conference Director of Athletics Finance Committee.

In June 2007, Manuel accepted the Opportunity Award by all-time tennis great Billie Jean King, as Buffalo was recognized by the Women’s Sports Foundation as one of four “standout” colleges and universities in the nation for outstanding achievement in providing equitable athletic opportunities for its female student-athletes.

Prior to his time at Buffalo, he was the assistant and associate director of athletics for the University of Michigan, where he oversaw that school’s football and men’s basketball programs. In February 1998, he was named an assistant athletic director at Michigan, with responsibilities for overseeing operational facets of the university’s athletic program. He was named an associate athletic director in September 2000.

Born May 22, 1968, Manuel is a native of New Orleans, who was a high school All-American football player and played for the University of Michigan under its legendary coach, Bo Schembechler. Manuel earned multiple letters, and started at defensive end in his sophomore year. His football career was cut short by a neck injury, and he subsequently earned two letters on the Wolverines’ track and field team.

After graduating from Michigan, Manuel was coordinator of the university’s Wade H. McCree Jr. Incentive Scholars Program from June 1990 to August 1993. The program is a partnership with The President’s Council of State Universities and Detroit Public Schools that helps students prepare for higher education at public universities in Michigan. He subsequently worked briefly as an academic advisor with the Georgia Tech Athletic Association, before being named assistant athletic director of academic affairs.

In the course of working on a Ph.D. in social work and psychology at Michigan, he earned a master’s degree in social work in 1993 and an MBA from Michigan’s Ross School of Business in April 2005.

Manuel will sign a five-year contract with UConn, with the option for a two-year extension at the discretion of the university. He will be paid a base salary of $450,000 a year. He is eligible for a $100,000 performance incentive annually if certain academic and athletic goals are achieved, and is eligible for $100,000 in deferred compensation to be awarded at the conclusion of his five-year contract.

Manuel and his wife Chrislan have a daughter, Emma (17), and a son, Evan (13).

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