UB officially opens Murchie Family Fieldhouse

The Bulls football team is also gearing up for their season opener next week

Jon Simon
August 20, 2019 - 7:53 pm

Photo: Paul Hokanson/UBBulls.com

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The University at Buffalo officially opened the Murchie Family Fieldhouse on Tuesday afternoon ahead of the football team’s media day.

While the new facility has been used a number of times over the spring and summer, a large number of fans, athletes, alumni and University employees attended the opening ceremony on Tuesday morning, including Tunney Murchie and his daughter Brittany.

Murchie, a University at Buffalo alumnus, has been an avid supporter of Bulls athletics for decades, and in recent years has been a part of many renovation projects to athletics facilities.

The Fieldhouse is expected to be a big addition for the football program; many believe it will draw more interest from recruits. However, the facility will benefit many more athletes that aren’t part of the football team. At Tuesday’s ceremony members from both the softball and women’s soccer teams spoke about how the facility has given them more opportunities to practice.

“It’s about providing a first-class facility for our athletes,” Athletic Director Mark Alnutt said. “[The Fieldhouse] is so valuable.”

Following the ceremony, head coach Lance Leipold spoke with reporters to kick off the football team's media day. The Bulls' 2019 campaign begins a week from Thursday; however, Leipold has yet to name a starter for the season opener. The competition remains to between red-shirt sophomore Kyle Vantrease, junior Dominic Johnson, and red-shirt freshman Matt Myers.

“I’m extremely pleased with the progress of all three quarterbacks,” Leipold stated. “We’re definitely working towards making a decision. We’ll have one as we approach the game next week.”

Finding the replacement for Tyree Jackson, who is now with the Buffalo Bills after leaving school a year early, won’t be the only tough task for Leipold this fall. The Bulls lost a number of impact players on both sides of the ball due to graduation including Cam Lewis (also with the Bills), Anthony Johnson, James O’Hagan, Chuck Harris, and Khalil Hodge. Despite the exit of a handful of leaders from the 2018 squad, Leipold believes this year’s group has what it takes to pick up where last year’s team left off.

“I think there’s a mixture of energy and motivation from this group, based on the season not ending the way we wanted it to end last year,” Leipold said. “I think there is also an expectation that the program has taken steps and the players have to keep working to get better to match or surpass that. I also feel like they’re motivated by the fact that they feel like there’s been a lot of conversation more so on who’s not here than who is here.”

Leipold did admit he could see how some could view the upcoming season as a rebuild for UB and that there is “some justification to that.” Despite that, he feels it’s more motivation for this overlooked group.

“Maintaining success is by keeping young men motivated and challenged to get better each and every day,” Leipold said. “That’s our responsibility [as coaches] and I think this group is really receptive to that. I’m excited.”

The Bulls open the 2019 season on Thursday, August 29 at home against Robert Morris. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be heard on ESPN 1520, along with pre-game and post-game coverage.

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