BC responds to Steve Lively and I give my two cents
Last November, I was blind copied on a letter written by Steve Lively to the Board of Trustees. Earlier this week Lively followed up his first letter with another email. I ignored it this time. Since his last email, Lively had now included a racial component to his criticism that I didn't want to delve into. I certainly have my agenda and think race and sports are intertwined, but I don't necessarily want to endorse everything Lively is saying. He's certainly welcome to voice his opinions -- as many BC fans, alumni and bloggers have been doing for years. He also sprinkled in numerous personal anecdotes that make his argument seem less a mission to fix BC and more about "getting" Gene. [Copies of the full letter are on various message boards.]
BC finally responded to Lively's criticism with the following statement.
Steve Lively’s letter regarding Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo is perplexing and unfortunate, and filled with irresponsible and baseless claims. It has caused a number of people, including several of Steve’s former football teammates, to express concern for him and his judgment.
Under Gene’s leadership, the BC Athletics program has remained true to its traditions and the pursuit of excellence. Boston College has one of the highest student-athlete graduation rates in the country, its athletics facilities have been upgraded significantly, and its athletes have succeeded on the field and in service to the wider community.
Gene DeFilippo has the confidence, respect and support of countless members of the Boston College community, including University President Fr. William Leahy, as well as colleagues in intercollegiate athletics throughout the United States.
Jack Dunn, University Spokesman
I blame Gene for many of the issues currently facing BC sports. I also think he oversteps his role and can lack tact at times. That doesn't gloss over all his many accomplishments while at BC or the improvements he has made to the school. We joke about how he is quick to remind people what things were like when he arrived, but he does deserve credit. However, he is in a high profile role required to make tough decisions. Over 15 years you are going to upset people, make enemies and make plenty of poor decisions. Also after 15 years you will tend to get complacent, set in your ways and start to think your past success means you can always make the right decision. Gene's persona and the comments he continues to make to the media and alumni are going to cause controversy. As much as we would like a victory lap conclusion to his career and smooth transition to his retirement, he may be too controversial for that to happen.
Lively can keep challenging Gene, but the statement from Dunn shows that the school's leadership has Gene's back. At this point I recommend individual fans keep up with your personal feelings and continue to use your gifts to the school as a vehicle to send a message.