Brad Bates' gambit
In his off-campus Pow Wow before Thanksgiving with select "friends of BC," the group told Brad Bates that three names would be deflating hires to the BC fanbase. Those names were Tim Murphy, Sean McDonnell and Steve Addazio. The three-tier plan discussed at that meeting was executed but now it looks like Bates wanted Addazio all along. This wasn't a case of BC getting spurned at the altar. BC didn't get into money issues with the realistic candidates. We offered the job to Steve Addazio and no one else. I am part of the half-full group on Addazio and like many of his attributes. But I think Brad Bates risked too much equity on this hire. This was Bates' first major decision at BC. He better hope Addazio overdelivers, because Bates used up a lot of goodwill with the move. Let me explain why.
A blank slate
When BC hired TOB, no one knew him. It was another circus search where people turned us down, multiple candidates thought they were getting the job and then out of nowhere we named the Virginia Offensive Coordinator our new head coach. TOB was himself from Day 1, so fans weren't ready to run through brick walls for him, but we bought into the "plan." TOB was going to rebuild BC the right way. And when there were stumbles in the first two years, TOB still had our support because we had no preconceived reason to doubt he would turn the corner. If TOB had come to BC off of a losing season at another program and hired a bunch of Henning assistants, that unanimous support would not have lasted very long. You can raise money and sell tickets around a blank slate. Addazio has a fire to rally around, but brings enough skepticism that some will withhold financial and emotional support until he wins.
Blank slates also have bigger upside. You never know when the next coordinator turns into the next championship coach. Addizio is so much better than Spaz, but I don't think many see him winning championships. Perception is that if he was of that caliber Florida wouldn't have passed over him and he would have had a better first year in the Big East with Temple.
I am President of the Ryan Day Fan Club. I think Kevin Rogers deserves a Nobel Prize for pointing out Spaz's idiocy. I think Day will be a great OC. But when we struggle next year and possibly longer, there will be questions as to why we went in this direction. Smart fans know what they saw here and can read the terrible stats that Temple produced this year. If we had hired someone completely removed from the Spaz drama and with a more productive offense, people would be more excited about this change. Plus people know about Addazio's true desire for this job. He desperately wanted it four years ago. So now when he is finally hired and slightly less attractive due to how things played out at Temple, he has the feel of a retread or a guy that Gene Defilippo might have called.
Watch this video of Bates Tuesday night courtesy of Conrad Kaczmarek.
You can tell he was genuinely surprised by how much Addazio knew about BC. (Other candidates were supposedly ill prepared.) As we saw at the press conference, Addazio is a salesman, but should he get special credit for knowing BC inside and out? Because of his relationship with Day and Rogers, he knew the roster and the program's recent challenges. He probably knows more than Bates. If he wanted, I am sure Addazio could have called up John Defilippo and got a rundown of some of BC's biggest donors. Addazio still had to deliver in the interview, but he shouldn't get credit for acing a test for which he had been given all the answers. If the interview was the deciding factor, I hope Addazio's access to the program was at least recognized.
The politics of the search
I don't know how political things were at Miami of Ohio, but Brad Bates is a Michigan Football Alumni. He knows how his fellow Wolverines made Rich Rodriquez's life hell because he wasn't a "Michigan Man." BC is not that sort of culture, but you do have to do things the right way. Bates had more of a process than Gene ever had and did reach out to many people. Yet there were plenty of coaches and agents who reached out to BC and didn't get any acknowledgement back. There were also some key BC and BC-friendly folks who wanted the job and weren't handled very well. And when you take the time to gather a small group of heavy hitters and then ignore their warnings, you start things off on the wrong foot.
Where do we go from here?
I am ready for some fun and passion. I predict good things for Addazio. I think he will achieve a TOB-level of success. However, my worries about Brad Bates have bubbled up. We will have to replace Jerry York one day and might have a basketball search on our hands sooner rather than later. Is Bates going to take the same approach in those searches?
Let's hope Addazio unites the fanbase through victory, because this process didn't.