Thursday, September 27, 2012

Do all ADs leave BC a better place than they found it?

Whenever anyone writes or talks about Gene's tenure (myself included) they always include some sort of caveat that "BC Athletics is in a better place than he found it" or some similar sentiment. Since I was a student during the transition from Gladchuk to Defilippo, I have vivid memories of what it was like then and where things are now and thought it might be time to compare the transitions. Because of the progress of BC as a whole and the growth of college athletics, most BC ADs could say they left BC a better place than they found it.

Being an AD is highly political and involves two things people hold dear (money and sports). Unless an AD moves on before opinions change, he or she are going to step on enough toes to the point where everyone wants him or her gone. It happened with Gene and it happened with Gladchuk. To give people perspective on Gladchuk and his parallels to Defilippo, let me breakdown the major issues then and their relevancy now.

Gladchuk's major accomplishment was the renovation of Alumni. This was as big a facilities project as any Gene has done. Much of the momentum and fundraising was based off of Tom Coughlin's success, but it was still on Chet's watch. BC facilities were definitely in a better place after his tenure.

When Gladchuk tookover BC in 1990, the Big East was only a basketball conference. During his time, the Big East expanded multiple times and added football. The new conference earned a national TV deal on CBS and gave a boost to many of our non-revenue sports. It was still an awkward combination of schools, but BC was in a better more secure place than they were when he started.

Graduation Rate
BC won the College Football Association's Academic Achievement Award three times under Gladchuk. If anything this speaks to a culture and emphasis on the student aspect of "student-athlete" that predates both Chet and Gene. Like Gene, Chet deserves credit for preserving this part of our culture, but I don't know if he or anyone can claim they made it better. It is a BC thing, not an AD thing.

Gladchuk was able to raise a lot of money and create new things for fans and alumni to sponsor or buy. However, like Gene, he stepped on some big donors' toes. (Once again, it is the nature of the job.) And like Gene, the fundraising aspect of his job is the only area where you could question if BC was better off. He raised previously unprecedented levels of money, but also burned enough bridges that the new guy had to come in and repair relationships.

Athletic Department Operations
Gene's defenders will tell you that he took over a Department in the dark ages when it came to how we promote, market, licenses or sell Boston College Athletics. The same could be said about Gladchuk. He was taking over for the revered Bill Flynn, who still did things in an old school fashion. BC was never ahead of the curve in this area, but Gladchuk left the school in a better place.

Gladchuk hired Tom Coughlin...and Dan Henning. He also screwed up the hockey program before lucking into York. In basketball, he inherited JOB and was ready to fire him, if not for some lobbying from alums and due to JOB's wife losing her battle with cancer. It was a mixed bag to say the least. Henning was really what did him in. When any AD is so closely tied to a bad football hire at a football school, it is going to generate a lot of criticism. TOB and Al Skinner both came in during Chet's last days, but he was not the main decision maker on either. He was a lame duck who wanted Randy Edsall. Sullivan and Leahy made the final decision on both coaches. Both turned out to be just what BC needed and led the school to success over the next decade. BC was in a better place, but it really wasn't Chet's doing.


Goberry said...

You forgot the biggest negative about Chet. Though Gene was AD when the switch was made, it was Chet that pushed for the logo/mascot changes from maroon and gold to maroon and piss and turning Margo the Eagle into Baldwin the Angry Chicken.

EL MIZ said...

thank you for the post ATL. this era predated my time at BC and though I was a fan (scoonie penn transferring to Ohio St. was a true childhood letdown), i did not know the behind-the-scenes stuff so i appreciate the look-back. it refutes much of what Ned of Savin hill is usually posting about Gladchuck being a flawless AD who had all good hires and no bad hires.

who was the person (s) behind the TOB and skinner hiring? was it this current guy leo whoever who is looking for ADs?

NEDofSavinHill said...

Atl. post on Gladchuk is totally bogus. It was only luck he got York? It must have been luck when he hired Coughlin, TOB, Skinner and Inglese.( the winningest coaches in BC history) It also must have been luck when he hired Paul Johnson at Navy. Gdf inherited four aces and he dealt them away.2. Many use to use the moral equivalency argument when comparing the Soviet Union to the USA. Time and experience proved how fallacious that was. Trying to equate a total failure Gdf to a success Gladchuk is preposterous. Remember under Gladchuk's hires TOB and Skinner BC was the top program ( combined football and basketball) in the ACC. They were #6 nationally. Under Gdf BC became the worst program in the ACC. If Gdf is recognized at the Clemson game he's getting a Bronx cheer.Only those with moral and historical strabismus would applaud. 3. Atl. do you stand by your praise for Bob Ryan? Did you read his story on Skinner calling him LAZY? Do you approve of racial stereotypes? Whuy don't you condemn Ryan for what he did? You don't adopt those views do you?

Mike said...

Lucked into York? Didn't hire TOB or Skinner?

Sorry. Not buying.

JMC said...

I hate Gene as much as the next guy, and was at BC during a good chunk of Gladchuck's time, but I think you're giving him a bit too much credit. He did hire Coughlin, and he should get credit for that, but you seem to forget that he first hired Jim Laycock (I think that's his name) from William and Mary. He backed out at the very last instant, and Coughlin ended up with the job. Chet then hired Henning when TC left, seemingly the most egregious eff up in BC sports history, and the quickest tear down of a once rising program, but then Spaz and Gene came along and now the Henning years don't seem so grim in retrospect.
Chet may have had some involvement in TOB's hiring, but as I recall he was just part of a committee (since he was on his way out), and he was allegedly the one who told both Kevin Gilbride and Randy Edsall that they had the job before TOB was ultimately hired.
As far as hockey, he hired Cedorchuk (spelling?) who messed things up royally with respect to giving out more scholarships than were available. Chet then hired Mike Milbury, who took a look at the mess and lasted all of a couple of months before resigning. Chet then made the greatest hire in BC history in York, but a legit question is why wasn't he hired the first or second time around?
As far as Skinner, I'm not sure on Chet's role- I tend to think it was similar to the TOB hire in that he was not the sole decision maker.

Big Jack Krack said...

Didn't Frank Beamer also "accept" the HC job for one day and then retract?

Big Jack Krack said...

Just before Coughlin?

JMC said...

Yes, he did offer it to Beamer and he also backed out after initially accepting. So he gets credit for that near hire I suppose.