BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — UB football coach Lance Leipold has resigned from his position to take the head coaching job at Kansas.
UB earned its first two bowl victories under Leipold in 2019 and 2020. He finished his Bulls career with a 37-33 record, making him the winningest coach in UB history.
“I can’t thank Lance enough for everything he has done for our football program,” athletic director Mark Alnutt said. “His vision and leadership helped elevate the UB football brand. We are grateful for what Lance has done here and we wish him and his family all the best as they embark on this new journey.”
UB will begin a national search immediately and would like to have a new coach hired quickly. Rob Ianello was named interim head coach — he served as associate head coach/recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach under Leipold.
Kansas has been in the Big 12 cellar for more than a decade. The last time the Jayhawks won more than one conference game was 2008. Kansas went 0-9 last season and is 18-99 overall in the past ten seasons.
“Since entering the FBS ranks in 1999, the UB football program continues to rise to unprecedented heights. From bowl victories to top NFL Draft picks, UB has established itself as one of the top programs in not only the Mid-American Conference, but the entire Group of Five. With our success on the field as well as facilities rivaling some of the best in the country, we know we are an attractive coaching destination and look forward to selecting the next leader of our football program.”
Leipold’s buyout from his contract, per his Jan. 1, 2020 extension, is $600,000.
Leipold is the second Buffalo coach to leave for Kansas. Turner Gill became the Kansas coach in 2010, but was fired after two seasons.
The Bulls are now in the search for a new head coach for the first time since after the 2014 season.
“From this entire process, I was aware this was a definite possibility when that action occurred in Kansas about a month and a half ago, knew that he was going to be a highly sought-after candidate and I was very supportive of him wanting to explore this opportunity,” UB Athletic Director Mark Alnutt said. “Even until yesterday, knowing this might be upon us but also at the same token, we might’ve had the chance to retain Lance at UB but this morning when he shared with me what they were offering him to be the next head coach at Kansas, you have to look at his family, whatever staff is going to go with him and their family, what a difference in terms of what that can do for somebody, and I don’t fault him for that.”
Alnutt’s timeline for bringing in Leipold’s replacement is quick, given that it’s the end of April and there are many wheels that need to start turning for the next regime. With a 7-14 day timeline set, Alnutt says he wants the new coach to be brought in before finals end at UB, so that the new coach can have the chance to meet with the student-athletes face to face before they depart for summer break.
“We’re all used to the Zoom format, and yes, you can communicate at a high level through any of these platforms, but for me, there’s more of an impact when that person is here in person and has that opportunity to meet individually, collectively with the team, and at least give the team some direction before they go back home for three, four weeks, whatever the case may be,” Alnutt said.
“That is our goal, to bring in somebody, but also at the same token, if we don’t meet that timeline before they leave, it’s going to be because we’re doing our due diligence and make sure we make the right hire. But optimally, getting the person in front of them, it’s going to be huge.”
Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook and Twitter and find more of his work here.