Daniel J. White was named Director of Athletics at The State University of New York at Buffalo by President Satish K. Tripathi on May 8, 2012.
With an aggressive plan for the athletics program, White immediately laid the blueprint to capitalize on the unlimited potential of UB Athletics as the largest public institution in the state of New York and the flagship of the SUNY system. He has wasted little time putting his transformational plan in place, capitalizing on a vibrant student and alumni base that will craft his vision as the program is elevated to new heights.
A rising star in intercollegiate athletics, the former Notre Dame Basketball player and New Orleans native has quickly ascended in the ranks of college athletics leadership.
Since his arrival at The State University of New York at Buffalo, White has helped establish and develop a championship culture. The Bulls had a banner year in 2014-15 claiming three MAC Championships. Women’s Soccer dominated in the fall winning the regular season title, tournament championship and sweeping the awards for coach, player and rookie of the year. Men’s Basketball cut down the nets in Cleveland winning the MAC tournament and punching the first ticket to the big dance in school history, and Men’s Tennis earned a spot in the NCAA postseason after winning their MAC tournament championship. Prior to this stellar year of three NCAA team appearances, the Bulls had only one NCAA tournament appearance across all of their sports in their first 15 years at the FBS level, with Women’s Tennis winning the MAC in 2008. Jon Jones also made history for UB in 2015 winning gold in the Shot Put at the NCAA Championships. The momentum has changed for UB Athletics as they are becoming a force in the MAC.
The development of this championship culture started with a detailed plan. Through a collective effort of athletics senior administration, coaches and staff, White introduced a comprehensive strategic plan in early 2013 that outlines a path for success in the coming years. Most notably the vision to build America’s next big time college athletics brand.
One of the primary marketing arms for this athletics brand is the football program. In 2014, White made a change at the helm of UB’s football program hiring Lance Leipold. Leipold comes to UB from Wisconsin-Whitewater where he compiled an astounding 109-6 record and won six Division III National Championships over his eight seasons. A six-time National Coach of the Year, Leipold reached 100 career victories faster than any other coach in NCAA history – at any level.
Donors and fans will be able to watch first year Head Coach Lance Leipold from the luxury of club seating at UB Stadium with the construction of the new West Club. This addition will offer fans club and loge Seating, food and beverage service, private restrooms and elevator access, and an exclusive 2,000 square foot climate controlled lounge with TV’s. This premium seating area is the first of its kind at UB Stadium and will greatly enhance the game day experience.
White is also overseeing a number of other capital projects that will create new as well as upgraded facilities on the Athletics blueprint. These included the $1 million Murchie Family Football Center – dedicated on July 19, 2013 – and recently upgraded Men’s and Women’s Basketball locker rooms in Alumni Arena – a facility that also saw its concourse revitalized with modern graphics and a new high-tech Hall of Fame display. Also in the works is a transformational capital project, the first in the 20-year history of UB Stadium to include a state of the art sports medicine center, the West Club, which will provide donors with unparalleled fan amenities in UB Stadium, and, thanks to the generous $3 million commitment by the Murchie Family, the construction of new football team meeting rooms and coaches’ offices – expanding the Murchie Family Football Center.
This $3 million gift was the largest ever single gift in athletic department history. Fundraising efforts across the board have experienced great success since White arrived in 2012 with cash collections up 103%. Overall participation and investment from Blue & White Fund donors continues to climb with over 2,300 active members – a 137% increase since the launch of a membership campaign in 2013. Financial support for UB Athletics is at an all-time high under White’s watch.
The numbers continue to rise in the classroom as well, with UB student-athletes posting 7 straight semesters of an average GPA above 3.0 – the only 7 times that has occurred in the history of the department. The spring of 2015 also had the highest number of teams above a 3.0 (14) and an all-time best of 30 student-athletes achieving a 4.0.
With the goal of increasing the fan base and enhancing revenues, White introduced a priority seating program for football with a new commitment to a vibrant fan experience on football game days. These moves included an upgraded Stampede Square fan interaction zone, corporate village tailgating area and the UB Football Tailgate Concert Series which brings national recording artists to campus for pre-game concerts. The success of this new game day experience lead to a record breaking attendance year in 2013 for UB football with an average paid attendance of 22,736 - over 2,000 more than any other school in the MAC. UB posted a total paid attendance of 136,428, shattering the previous school record of 108,118 set in 2011. The Bulls had five games with a paid attendance of over 20,000 in 2013. UB only had four games of 20,000 or more fans over the past five seasons, combined.
White also announced in 2013 that UB would play its first ever football game at Ralph Wilson Stadium – home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. UB played Bowling Green in what was coined the "Black Friday Clash at the Ralph" on Nov. 29 and drew 26,226 fans – the third largest crowd to ever watch a home football game. This game was also the first college football game played at the stadium since 1979.
The 2013 football season concluded with the most wins in program history (8) and the second ever bowl game appearance (The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl). This momentum carried into basketball season with the Men’s Basketball team winning their first ever outright MAC East Championship. Men’s Basketball revenue set a record high with an increase of over 30%.
White also engaged the services of global brand leader and Buffalo based corporation New Era Cap to launch the New York Bulls Initiative (NYBI). The NYBI introduced a new word-mark and branding platform that will further enhance the department’s stature as the State University of New York’s only public FBS program. In addition, for the first time in school history a radio network will span across the entire state of New York, anchored by ESPN 1520. A 50,000-watt station, ESPN 1520 has one of the strongest signals in the nation. At night, the station can be heard from New England to South Carolina and throughout the entire state of New York. Daytime broadcasts will be supplemented by new radio partnerships in the Rochester, Albany and New York City markets. In an effort to gain more local exposure, White also secured a partnership with the local NBC affiliate station, WGRZ Channel 2 making it the official television home for UB Athletics.
Prior to Buffalo, White served as senior associate athletics director at the University of Mississippi from 2009-12. From 2007-09, White was associate athletics director for development at California State University - Fresno. He was assistant athletics director for development at Northern Illinois University from 2006-07. White began his career in athletic administration as a development associate for the UMAA Foundation at Mississippi in 2005.
A collegiate basketball player at Towson University and the University of Notre Dame, White was director of basketball operations for men’s basketball at Ohio University for the 2003-04 season before being promoted to assistant men’s basketball coach for the 2004-05 campaign.
White is a 2002 graduate of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He earned master’s degrees in both business administration and sports administration from Ohio University. He is working to complete a PhD in higher education from the University of Mississippi.
White comes from a family deeply involved in intercollegiate athletics. His father, Kevin, is director of athletics at Duke University. His brother, Michael, is the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Florida, and his brother, Brian, is the associate athletics director for development at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Danny and his wife, Shawn, have four children: Aidan (11), Molly (8), Caitlin (6) and James (3).