Monday, April 13, 2009

More GDF: Gene gets an extension

BC announced a signed extension for Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo. The press release is below and my thoughts are after.

BOSTON COLLEGE EXTENDS CONTRACT OF ATHLETICS DIRECTOR GENE DeFILIPPO

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass (4-13-09)-- Boston College has extended the contract of Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo through May 2014, University President William P. Leahy, SJ, announced today.

In announcing the extension, Leahy praised DeFilippo for his success in enhancing Boston College Athletics as one of the most successful and respected athletics programs in the nation.

"Gene DeFilippo has provided tremendous leadership and vision to Boston College ’s athletics program, and he is also a great ambassador for our University,” said Fr. Leahy. "I am pleased that he will be with us for at least another five years."

Since arriving at Boston College in 1997, DeFilippo has been credited with strengthening the BC athletics program in a number of areas, including academic support, facilities and fund raising. During his tenure, Boston College student-athletes have consistently earned among the nation's highest graduation rates, resulting in the coveted Athletic Director’s Award for Academic Excellence during the 2007-2008 academic year. In addition, DeFilippo has spearheaded renovations to Conte Forum and Shea Field, added a new field hockey and a lacrosse/soccer field on the Newton Campus, and new field turf and an air-supported structure over Alumni Stadium that provides an indoor winter practice facility for all sports.

DeFilippo was also instrumental in the successful completion of the privately funded 72,000 square-foot Yawkey Athletics Center , which houses the football program and Learning Resources for Student Athletes, and provided critically needed space in Conte Forum for women’s athletics and Olympic sports.

Through his efforts, donations in support of BC athletics have grown steadily, with alumni, parents and friends contributing a record $21 million in 2008, a 10 percent increase over the previous year and a 200 percent increase from 2003.

Furthermore, DeFilippo oversaw the successful transition to full membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference, thereby enhancing the University’s visibility on the national stage and helping to significantly increase athletic revenue in support of BC’s 31 varsity sports.

“I am extremely fortunate in that the only job I want is the one I have here at Boston College ,” said DeFilippo. "I look forward to working with Fr. Leahy and the University community, our student-athletes and staff towards our goal of making BC Athletics the best it can be.”

Prior to coming to Boston College , DeFilippo served as director of athletics at Villanova University from 1993-1997 and has worked in athletics administration at the University of Kentucky , the University of South Carolina at Spartanburg , and Vanderbilt University . He also coached football at Vanderbilt, Youngstown State University and Tennessee .

A 1973 graduate of Springfield College with a bachelor of science degree, DeFilippo earned a master's degree in educational administration from the University of Tennessee in 1974.

DeFilippo and his wife, Anne, are the parents of three children: Christine, John and Mary.


During the Jags firing I found myself at the center of a lot of BC speculation, gossip and positioning. While it was clear Gene had Father Leahy's ear and support, he is not universally loved and supported. There are many serious donors who have been turned off by him and who felt he mishandled the Jags firing and subsequent search. Some friends of Gene also wondered if the whole saga hadn't taken a lot out of him and if he would hang it up before his contract ran out. This extension brings more clarity to all the speculation. Gene obviously still has enough support around BC to get this extension. And he seems like he wants to hang around BC for a few more years.

Personally I think the extension was premature. Gene is currently under contract until 2011. Was he going anywhere? Did we need to give him more money given the current ticket sales and donation challenges? Also, what happens if the Spaz decision proves to be a poor one? Gene will get much of the blame for that. If things don't go well that means we could be buying out a football coach and AD.

At the end of the day I think Gene has been a good AD. But this premature extension speaks to some of the same issues that have surrounded his tenure: he has too much power and is unchecked in his decisions too often.

Regardless of the money, politics or personality, this now means Gene will probably hire our next football coach, basketball coach and hockey coach. Let's hope he gets wise with age and leaves us in good hands.

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9 Comments:

At 5:45 PM, Blogger mod10aeagle said...

I find it bizarre that there's no mention anywhere in that release of the success of BC's athletic programs since GD became AD. It's all about graduation rates, new buildings and fundraising. That seems like a profound statement about the administrations perspective on athletics. If there ever was any doubt about how GD's performance is measured, that sums it up.

 
At 6:43 PM, Blogger BlockParty said...

"...this now means Gene will probably hire our next football coach, basketball coach and hockey coach."



Scary.

 
At 7:04 PM, Blogger Raj said...

Let's try and give Spaz the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully Gene won't have to hire another football coach. I agree with ATL, why did we need to give him another two years, 3 years from the end of his contract?

I hope he wasn't threatening to leave or interview with another school, that would be a bit much...

 
At 8:47 AM, Blogger VinnyBCEAGLE said...

Most of the big donors I know were very pleased about how Gene handled everything. I think it was more the "chat room crowd" that was unhappy about it. Same people that like to talk but won't travel to the away and bowl games and who don't stand up and cheer at the home games.

Kodos to BC!!! Great job to keep a real BC guy around. A real class act!

 
At 9:21 AM, Blogger flutie22phelan20 said...

Vinny-

The people that post on here and at EA...they ARE the people who travel to road games and make some noise at home games. I would place my loyalty as a fan up there with anybody; and I'm sure most here would do the same.

In many respects, Gene D has done a quality job at BC, and the athletic department has seldom been on stronger footing. I happen to believe he should be at BC for the indefinite future.

That said, he badly mishandled the Jags fiasco (even if Jags mishandled it worse). And the athletic department has continued to charge rapidly increasing prices, which is clearly having the effect of pissing off a substantial percentage of the fanbase. From what I've seen, very few new fans have stepped up to take their place (see, eg, the empty football parking spots everywhere on campus last year).

I'm a recent grad; I don't have a horse in the DBS race. But I do think that there's some things BC should do with class -- like grandfather in old season ticket holders instead of spitting in their face and asking for more money. That's how it SHOULD be done, at a place like BC, which (as Gene always reminds us when it serves his cause) is different from the athletic factories.

Every athletic department has to walk a line between maximizing revenue and rewarding loyalty. I think Gene has emphasized the former priority far too much in the short term, which will adversely effect revenue in the long term.

 
At 11:32 AM, Blogger Big Jack Krack said...

I have my opinions about GDF, but I might as well keep them private. No question he has done a lot of good things, but he's far from perfect - just like the rest of us. BC athletics would continue to thrive under a new AD if he moved on, but that's no longer the case. With the "loyalty" factor - he can't leave prior to 2014, as everybody would be laughing at him and he would have no credibility.

I have been a football season-ticket holder since 1971, following my stint in the Army. I also travel to away games - and also to home games, as I live in South Carolina now :-)

I'm uneasy with the football parking and tailgating situation - and I won't belabor the points here. Although it's not a big deal to me personally, it must be recognized that attending a BC football game is a hassle, and it's especially difficult for those loyal fans who enjoy socializing before and after the game.

Hopefully the football program will continue to be successful, because if it becomes mediocre for any period of time, Gene and Fr. Leahy will find out just how good a job Gene is doing. He's walking a tightrope right now, whether he realizes it or not - not much margin for error in terms of donor based seating and tailgating.

Good for you, Gene - congratulations, and please keep up the good work. Now let's get the baseball stadium built and do something about the student seating for heaven's sake. Get them closer to the floor on each side for basketball - Conte looks awful on TV with all those empty seats!!!!

 
At 12:39 PM, Blogger andy d said...

does anyone have the date of the spring game? couldn't find it anywhere on BCEagles.com

Thanks

 
At 1:21 PM, Blogger Ben said...

spring game is the 25th. atl, have you heard anything about season tix sales for football this year? i saw they introduced the flex pay plan and pushed the deadline back. any idea how far behind they are?

 
At 2:12 PM, Blogger morrina said...

Gotta love the "200 percent increase in donations" factoid....minus the fact that it is the result of DBS. I'm not sure Gene can take credit for forced donations.

 

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