Buffalo AD Mark Alnutt Hones in on Branding, Stability, and Community

December 4th, 2018 | by CollegeAD
Buffalo AD Mark Alnutt Hones in on Branding, Stability, and Community
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When Mark Alnutt took the Director of Athletics job at the University at Buffalo, he came in at a pivotal time. His appointment began in April, just after UB’s first-ever win in the NCAA Tournament for the men’s basketball team and the women’s basketball team had just earned its first trip to the NCAA’s Sweet 16. There was a sense of excitement and possibility in the air and Alnutt wanted to hit the ground running and capture what was already working at the university.

“The first thing was to make it a point to understand the staff,” he says. “Get their view of the athletic department from the various units that they represented. Taking the time was important. I wanted to understand the culture before making changes.”

Alnutt came to Buffalo from Memphis where he played a critical role in the Tigers $45 million athletic program. He knew challenges awaited him at UB but he didn’t want to discount the years of experience in his new department.

“It was a great foundation here that’s been laid by previous athletic directors. I needed to hone in on how we can move things forward. How do we become better communicators, be more proactive?” explains Alnutt.buffalo

Understanding his new community was key. He says one of the first things he did was become an active part of the vibrant Buffalo community. Not only learning what his staff and students expected but gathering information from the people in his area.

“I can’t do this job behind my desk all the time. I had to be out there.”

One thing he learned right away was how import Felisha Legette-Jack is to the women’s basketball program and to the larger Buffalo community.

“We put together a package to keep our women’s basketball coach. Keeping Legette-Jack was huge. Not only for me but I feel for us as a University. She’s an outstanding ambassador, not only just the women’s basketball program but for our athletic department and the University at Buffalo. She is in the community, keeping her was a big accomplishment,” says Alnutt.

He’s also working to improve branding and bring a stable presence to the athletic department.

“There’s also been a lot of change in terms of what our brand was. We were on our third logo in five years,” he said. “Looking for branding opportunities here on campus, here within our athletic facilities, it adds pride and stability.”

Now he has his sights set on a new campus facility. The Murchie Family Fieldhouse is an $18 million project. The 90,000 sq. ft. building will include an artificial turf football field. It will also have 6,000 sq. feet of rubber track, and suspended netting for softball players.
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“This will be athletic and recreational. So, it’s an opportunity for us to let the students know how their fees benefit them,” Alnutt explains. “I really wanted to press forward with that relationship and be in a position to have a partnership with the students. It will benefit the entire campus.”

With the completion of the Murchie Family Fieldhouse on the horizon, coaches are pumped about the fieldhouse and are already using it as a big recruitment tool.

“That’s going to be a huge asset and definitely a game changer for all of our sports. They can practice out of the elements and prepare to compete.”

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