Buffalo hires Lance Leipold as football coach
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Lance Leipold was introduced Monday as the football coach at the University at Buffalo. He succeeds Jeff Quinn, who was fired last month after four-plus seasons.
Leipold led Wisconsin-Whitewater to five Division III national championships. He has a 106-6 record in eight seasons.
“This is an unbelievable opportunity, and it’s ready to take off,” Leipold said.
The No. 1-ranked Warhawks are 12-0 this season and play Wartburg (Iowa) in the quarterfinals next weekend. With a 52-3 victory over Wisconsin-Eau Claire last month, Leipold reached 100 wins in 106 games, the fastest coach to do so at any NCAA level.
“I do need to finish the obligation of making sure we play our fullest as long as we can in the playoffs back in Wisconsin,” Leipold said.
Wisconsin-Whitewater has won 29 straight games, the longest streak in all of college football. If the Warhawks keep winning, Leipold said he plans to travel to Buffalo for a short period of time after each playoff game, but acknowledged that the process of assembling a staff and an incoming recruiting class will be delayed.
Buffalo plays in the Mid-American Conference and finished the season under interim coach Alex Wood. The team went to 5-6 following a 41-21 win over Massachusetts on Friday.
Leipold replaces interim coach Alex Wood, who went 2-2 after fifth-year coach Jeff Quinn was fired Oct. 11 with a career record of 20-36. Buffalo finished 5-6 after going 8-5 last season and playing in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Buffalo athletic director Danny White said he targeted an experienced head coach with a winning track record.
“This team is ready to win and we feel like ready to win now,” White said. “I was not too interested in looking for coaches with a learning curve.”
Leipold is a former quarterback at Whitewater, in a small southern Wisconsin town about 50 miles west of Milwaukee. He returned to the program after spending three seasons as associate head coach at Nebraska-Omaha. Before that, he served as an assistant at Nebraska for three years under Frank Solich.
While at Nebraska, Leipold worked with Turner Gill, who preceded Quinn at Buffalo, leading the Bulls to a Mid-American Conference championship and their first bowl game before leaving to coach at Kansas.
Leipold said he spoke to Gill at a coaching convention last year and Gill, who now coaches at Liberty, called Buffalo a special place.
“When this job opened and it came along that I was asked if I would have interest, I quickly reflected back to that conversation,” Leipold said. “Turner is a man I have always respected. And I took his word, and his advice, that you need to take a look.”
AP Sports Writers John Wawrow in Buffalo and Genaro C. Armas in Milwaukee contributed to this report.