Monday, February 27, 2017

Will the AD change impact Addazio's recruiting?

When Addazio ended the season with a win streak, it gave his recruiting a shot in the arm. He flipped Dillon and pulled off a few other late signings. It seems like that momentum has waned. BC lost a key Massachusetts target over the weekend and a Michigan QB target to Michigan State. While it is still very earlier in the recruiting process, it is concerning to strike out on local talents. Maybe things will turn around, or maybe the looming AD change has dulled Addazio's momentum.

Negative recruiting is a fact of life. One of the best things to say to a kid is that a coach at another school won't be there all four years. When a coach has a contract and some momentum like Addazio has, it should be easy to counter that argument. But the AD change undermines Addazio's defense. The commitment that the school has given Addazio in the past year now doesn't mean much. A new AD is going to want to bring in his own coaches and signal to the fanbase that things are changing. The easy way to do that is with a new coach in the school's most high profile sport. Addazio will have to win and probably win big to buy time with his new boss. Another 7-6 season doesn't create much goodwill.

The new hot seat then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Addazio needs talent to improve but talent won't come because they are afraid of a coaching change.

We've seen this before. Spaz's last recruiting class was very thin. (In hindsight it did prove to be productive.) I want Addazio to find all the talent he can. Get that cupboard full either for himself or his successor. If he can't turn recruiting around then it becomes one more reason for the new AD to make a change.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Jared Dudley speaks out on BC Basketball

While there is an occasional critical tweet during a game or season, in general, alumni BC athletes don't openly criticize the school. I don't know if they keep their mouths shut out of loyalty or not caring, but it tends to work in BC's favor. Fan complaints can be dismissed among BC's leadership because we don't know the whole story. A former player -- especially one who has had success beyond BC -- is harder to ignore. That is why Jared Dudley's comments on Saturday were so welcome.

The former ACC Player of the Year took to twitter to discuss BC Basketball's problems. What's interesting is that he didn't really take on the players or Christian's coaching. He address two issues that the new AD should address. The first is the lack of a basketball culture inside the Athletic Department. Dudley was disappointed that it took so long to recognize Barros and Bagley. We should celebrate our hoops history more than we do. The school also needs to do more so the Basketball Alumni feel more connected to the school. Their network is not as strong as the similar one among football and hockey players.

Dudley also touched on facilities. Any regular reader knows this is a recurring theme. Dudley knows that we don't need to win the facilities arms race. But we do need to look like we care about our student athletes. Any AD candidate worth hiring will figure out our facilities issues on the first campus tour. The challenge will be can that new AD raise enough money and push through all the BC and neighborhood road blocks.

The irony of all of this is that a player like Jared Dudley didn't come to BC because of how we treat our former players. He didn't come to BC because of the facilities. He came because we were the only major conference to offer him a scholarship and he had something to prove. We need more highly motivated players who have a chip on their shoulders. That is what will change BC Basketball. I just want to make sure that when we do get enough of those players, we also have the infrastructure that allows those teams to reach their potential.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Basketball's can't seem to break bad habits

BC lost again on Saturady. This time to Virginia Tech. Losing isn't new. BC has now lost 12 in a row. Losing to Virginia Tech isn't new either. BC lost to them earlier this year. But what worries and frustrates me is that this team is not getting better and not showing signs of improvement. For example, here are some of the recurring issues from the season that happened again Saturday:

-- BC started really slow, giving VT a comfortable lead
-- BC's defense was terrible and never really adjusted. VT shot nearly 67%
-- The bigs got in foul trouble and going small was a problem defensively.
-- Not enough scoring from the role players.

In the coming weeks there will be plenty of talk about Christian's future. Does he deserve another year? Should BC leave his status up to the new AD? Christian deserves to be fired. He won't be, but he does deserve it. This team doesn't have enough talent and the talent that is there is not getting better. The Defense is inexcusably bad. But I don't know if it matters. I don't think BC will hire a new coach during the AD transition. So all we are left to do is wait and hope for a sudden breakthrough.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Hockey is in a big hole

BC Men's Hockey is in a rut. With their lost to UMass Lowell, they are not even a bubble team. They are on the outside looking in. They now need to win the Hockey East Tournament if they want to get into the NCAA Tournament.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Don't make the "AD from the outside world" mistake

The Athletic Director's job is pretty complex. An AD deals with millions in revenue. Represents the school in a partnership worth hundreds of millions (the ACC). Leads an operations team that must pull off dozens of huge events each year. The Department also must sell and raise money. Then there is the human management aspect of being in charge of staffers, coaches and hundreds of athletes. Wearing all those different hats makes things comparable to a CEO. Other colleges have recently tapped CEOs from outside the sports world to lead their Athletic Departments. I hope BC doesn't make that same mistake.

Michigan, Notre Dame and Texas have all hired non-traditional ADs recently. All looked to accomplished business types to take over their huge departments. Other smaller profile schools have done it too. In most cases the results have been bad. Even the arguable best -- Notre Dame -- has still had problems. Too often the outside CEO is not used to the bureaucracy, politics or spotlight that comes with the job. Given that BC just had an AD who didn't adjust to our internal politics, I don't want another leader who struggles with the same mistakes. Each failed AD can set back our program another three or four years as we slog through a bad hiring cycle.

Any good CEO delegates. So I am sure BC could rationalize hiring an outsider and letting him/her put more experienced college admins around in supporting roles. But even with a team of staffers, there are two areas an AD cannot delegate: hiring and firing coaches, and raising money. Even if we don't promote someone who has done it at a Power 5 level, I still want someone who has hired a coach before. And I also want someone who has raised money. Raising money is tough. You have to grovel, beg and stroke egos. Bates didn't care for it and that is part of his downfall. Our new AD cannot be so proud or stubborn. He or she is going to have to sit through the dinners, play those rounds of golf and burn up phone lines. It is not fun or glamorous, but that is the job. 

BC could have taken a risk four years ago. That time has gone. Now get someone who understands the job and is willing to embrace it. Not someone who is just learning and adapting.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Will any old candidates get a second look?

Because Bates' tenure was relatively so short, some of the candidates from our last AD search could still be in play. Let's look back at some of the more prominent names from last time around.

Boo Corrigan
The first name leaked by the media on Monday was Army AD Boo Corrigan. It makes sense. Nothing in the last four years has done anything to diminish Corrigan as a potential replacement for Bates. Army has improved their football program and Corrigan has led numerous fundraising campaigns. Four years ago some worried that Corrigan would just use BC as a stepping stone. Would anyone mind that now? Using BC as a stepping stone would require that he does well. I never heard why Corrigan wasn't picked last time. There were even reports he was getting the job. Maybe he really did have his eyes set on a bigger opportunity. Since no one has hired him away, maybe this time around he will realize that BC is his best chance at a Power 5. 

Sean Frazier
Last time around Frazier was a Senior Associate AD at Wisconsin. Now he is the AD at Northern Illinois. That progression helps his candidacy this time around. Frazier publicly acknowledged his interest last time around and did the public face saving tweet of removing his name so that he could stay at Wisconsin. Would he be willing to go down the path again with BC? However frustrating it might be, the chance to lead a Power 5 school doesn't come along every day. 

Mike Cragg
Cragg is still the No. 2 guy at Duke. His name was floated the last time around but I never heard if he ever got any real interest from BC. He was Coach K's mouthpiece for a decade, so I am sure if he wanted his name out there again, he could go to friends in the media. Since it hasn't floated this time around, maybe he is happy at Duke and wants to finish his career there.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Keeping it in the family

It is natural to turn to your alumni and long-time employees when looking to fill a critical role like AD. The hope is that familiarity makes any transition smooth and that the passion for the school guides your program to new heights. All colleges consider this during major hires. Because we are replacing an AD who never really fit in, it seems even more obvious that BC should go with "BC guy/gal" right now. I don't think BC has some sort of quirky or impenetrable culture that only an insider can understand. But I do think this time around we should strongly consider someone with real ties to BC. Our coaches and fundraisers have a credibility issue with our fan base. If one of our own takes over, some of that skepticism will die down.

Here are a few candidates with BC ties who might be considered this time around.

Jim Paquette -- Athletic Director at Loyola

If anyone could hit the ground running with fund-raising, it would be Paquette. The Providence grad already served a decade as Gene's primary fundraiser and has led a number of big projects while at Loyola. He knows the administrators. He knows the big donors. He knows what has worked and hasn't worked at BC. Paquette can be the face of the Department and will understands the BC culture. There are only two issues related to Paquette's candidacy: his association with Gene and his lack of experience running a Department with Football. The association with Gene is something he can easily talk around in the interview process. He just has to explain how his vision for BC would take the best aspects of Defilippo era yet avoid his old boss's pitfalls. In my experience, Jim is not as much of a lightning rod as Gene, so I don't think he will rub anyone the wrong way. But he also has more personality than someone like Bates. As for Football experience, while he doesn't deal with it at Loyola, he certainly dealt with it at BC. He doesn't need to have Xs & Os expertise. He just needs to set expectations for the program, get the resources the program needs and find the right coach to lead that program. 

Bottom Line: I think Paquette would be the safest hire. But in this process he needs to prove that he is the type of leader who can not just return BC to its 2000s success, but take BC to that next level.

Ed McLaughlin -- Athletic Director at Virginia Commonwealth

McLaughlin is a 1995 BC grad but has built his career away from BC. Yet every step has been a step towards a place like BC. He worked for Hockey East. He worked in the area at Merrimack. He was the AD at a Catholic school (Niagra) and has now been at a mid-major power like VCU. While he has never raised money at a Power 5 school, I think his familiarity with BC and work at private schools can help any transition. Like Paquette, McLaughlin is not at a football school. But VCU basketball comes with some of the pressure and expectation that an AD faces at a football school. 

Bottom Line: McLaughlin can sell his love and ties to BC but doesn't carry the baggage of having worked at BC. Of the people tied to the school, his fresh perspective offers the biggest upside.

Chris Iacoi --  Sr. Associate Athletic Director, Chief Financial Officer at UCLA

Iacoi is the youngest among this "family" group. He graduated from BC in 2001 and worked for the school for a dozen years. Like Paquette, Iacoi was part of the success during the 2000s. However, unlike Paquette, he has never run his own department. While he has been part of critical business decisions, marketing deals and financial operations, he has never led a major fundraising campaign.  

Bottom Line: Iacoi's rise is impressive, but he would never sniff this job if not for his BC's degrees and previous work at the school. He is a likely candidate down the road, but I don't think now is Chris's time.

Vaughn Williams -- Athletic Director at Kennesaw State

Williams also worked at BC during the first half of Gene's tenure. He played football and graduated from UMass and also has a Masters degree from BC. Between his time at BC and Kennesaw, Williams worked at UConn. I know many BC fans are not aware of Kennesaw State, but as a Georgia resident, let me tell you how impressive their rise has been. Since he's been there, KSU has started a FCS Football team and has plans to make the jump to FBS. They also have some of the most elaborate and expensive Lacrosse facilities in the southeast. Williams wasn't involved with fundraising a BC, but has done enough of it at KSU to think he could adjust to our alumni and fans.

Bottom Line: Vaughn should be interviewed. It would be a big leap from KSU to BC, but he has enough of the boxes checked to at least get a chance to sell his vision for the Athletic Department.

Current Staffers

You could make some case for many of the current Athletic Department staffers like Jaime Seguin, Steve Novak, John Kane, Jill Hegarty, and Tom Peters. Many of them are BC grads and long-time loyal staffers. However, promoting from within would send the wrong message to our frustrated fans.

Bottom Line: I don't think BC will promote from within.