Friday, April 04, 2014

Questionable


Hiring is not easy. Anyone who has a perfect record in hiring hasn’t made that many hires or holds his/her employees to a low standard. Plenty of great Athletic Directors have made bad hires. None of us knows what Jim Christian will do at BC. Given his track record, he’ll probably be decent. Jim Christian’s record and future is Brad Bates’ problem. Our problem as BC fans and members of the BC community, is different. Our problem is Brad Bates. Given how he has gone about this process and what we’ve seen on other fronts, I have real doubts about Bates’ ability to get other big things done.

Brad Bates knew in January that a basketball decision -- and likely change -- was coming. I know he solicited input from alums and BOT members. Bates might not be quick to show his hand or share all his thoughts, but during these conversations it was implied and agreed that barring a miracle finish, Donahue was gone. Now if Bates had a change of heart or didn’t have buy-in from all the decision makers, then he needed to start working the politics of the decision then. You start building consensus:
-- “what do we want to be as a basketball program?”,
-- “what is our budget?”, and
-- “what are we looking for in a coach?”

Those are basic questions but have a million different answers. It is Bates’ job to find that consensus and win over the impacted parties. Then as the season closes, you quickly make your announcement on Donahue, have a solid list of interested candidates lined up, and go through the hiring process in a clear manner and you hope the coach you hire turns out to be great. As we know, that’s not what happened.

Donahue and his staff were given the impression they were coming back and then they weren’t! Agents reached out to BC throughout the winter and then deeper into the process and never given much insight into what BC was doing or what we wanted or what we were paying. Board members were all over the place with opinions, desires to make a big hire and those who had their personal favorites. Some candidate were deemed worth the price. Others not. Supposedly some Board members reached out to high-profile candidates directly! Bates paid Eddie Fogler to advise the process and just muddled it that much more. Players were told to be patient and led to believe that a big name was on the way. All the while BC preached patience. And yet the whole search wore on and on and it started to become clear the process got away from its owner. In the end we ended up with a coach whom Bates and Fogler knew yet left the fans, boosters, media, ACC, basketball community, recruits, players and even some within BC saying “who?” and “why?”

The Addazio process burned some bridges when it went down. Fortunately his personality and winning season converted some of the doubters. But this process reopened some of those wounds and made them worse. Some big donors will give to BC because they always do. Others will now have second thoughts. You don’t give big money to a guy you don’t trust or who nods like he’s listening and then does the exact opposite. But a big part of this job is having a vision, shaping that vision and selling it to the BC community. The two coaching searches and the long delayed Master Plan, leave all sorts of questions about Bates' ability to navigate and sell. And if he thinks Jim Christian is what BC basketball is all about, then maybe Bates’ vision of BC isn’t what it should be.

Marquette, Wake Forest and Washington State fans are all looking at each other wondering if they are better off than they were before the coaching change. The only schools that seem happy are Auburn and Virginia Tech. Those schools and their ADs moved decisively and didn’t fumble around with regards to money or direction. And many of the mid major guys elected to sit this coaching cycle out, betting on better jobs to come. Howland’s delay in returning to coaching seems more about him asking for too much money. So maybe even with a better process, the results would have been similar. But BC deserved a better strategy since we’ve known it was coming once Donahue’s final year fell apart.

This is not an easy job. Some of the politics and intrusions are the aftermath and overreaction to how things used to be run with Gene. But it is on Bates to step up and manage his constituents better. I don’t mind Bates attempting to do things his own way or on his own time as long as the end result makes sense and everyone is united. I fear this process just drove things further apart.

Basketball won’t be an issue Bates has to address for two or three years. Football looks okay for another two years. But that doesn't mean that Bates doesn't have future landmines to navigate. We have to push for major fundraising and construction projects. We have to address the baseball facilities and the baseball coaching issues. Also, Jerry York is not going to coach forever. Can Bates learn from his mistakes? Can he take better control of his Board? Let’s hope so, because if he doesn't BC is going to have to ask ourselves: “what sort of Athletic Program do we want?”, “how much do we want to spend on Sports?” and “who is the person to lead that effort?”

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29 Comments:

At 10:18 PM, Blogger Napolean Bonaparte said...

Happy to see Bates taking some heat for this - he deserves it. He had months to prepare. And if he realistically expected to retain Donahue for another year (and, therefore, did nothing) then he doesn't know what he's doing. And if he needed to delegate the whole hiring process to some outside consultant with a dubious success rate - then he doesn't know what he is doing. Ah - student development - student development.

 
At 10:49 PM, Blogger mod34b said...

Nice article ATL. Good reporting.

Bates, despite outward appearances, is not decisive. I think his squirrelly nature might be why he chooses to stay behind the curtain.

 
At 10:50 PM, Blogger mod34b said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11:02 PM, Blogger leftbankwine said...

Let the guy coach, have some faith, we are a catholic school right, maybe it doesn't work out, but the hand wringing is unbelievable. All of this is conjecture until the season starts, or at least until recruiting season starts. Dont damn the guy before he is allowed to show what he can do. If everything was settled from the start, no games would ever be played...what was that quote."it's why they play the games...!

 
At 12:14 AM, Blogger Bravesbill said...

Just remember, when he was at TCU, TCU was playing in the MWC. So really he has no major conference e experience and failed at in a mid-major conference. He's only found success in even lower tiered conferences.

 
At 12:23 AM, Blogger Bravesbill said...

Wow those are a lot of typos. I guess that's what happens when you try to type on an iPhone.

 
At 1:00 AM, Blogger Brian Cunningham said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 1:00 AM, Blogger Brian Cunningham said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 6:57 AM, Blogger Pearl Washington said...

Who else was interviewed? Who were the legit candidates? If you are going to keep this a secret and make THIS hire then that is a problem. Was Jay Wright or Anthony Grant viable ?

 
At 7:04 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Jim Christian is now our coach, so I am jumping on-board.

If I look back at Steve Donahue's tenure he lost an edge when Joe Jones left for BU. Al had his issues, but his staff was not one of them. Jim Christian needs a good staff, specifically recruiters, and here are my thoughts:

1. Yes we need a Black assistant coach. The legacy of the Al situation and historical legacy of Boston and BC is an issue. We need to find an Ed Cooley type of assistant. Let's not cite all the great things that BC has done, let's get a Black assistant coach that wants to be a head coach.

2. We need an assistant with ties to New England basketball, specifically AAU. New England basketball was second tier decades ago, today we are missing too many players going elsewhere.

3. We need an assistant with BC Eagle legacy that played in the NBA. The reality is kids want the shot of the NBA, and we need to show it to them and we have it. Bring in Abrams, Murph, Adams.......

It can be a mixture of the above, but those elements are important. Real head coaches are CEO's these days and the staff runs the team and gets the recruits.

 
At 7:32 AM, Blogger ATL_eagle said...

Leftbank:

I will let JC coach. I actually have more faith in him than BB.

Pearl:

We know that Hopkins and Schmidt had on campus interviews. Lots of people were talked to. I think the Jay Wright stuff is real in the sense there were talks and a BC offer. I don't know how real it was on his side.

 
At 7:43 AM, Blogger blist said...

The Jay Wright chatter wasn't just an April Fool's joke?
If he seriously spoke with him, then it brings back my opinion of BB a bit. How we ended up with JC still makes me wonder if, like Adazzio, this was the guy BB always wanted to end up with. I think JC can be fine but not if that 4-star recruit he got for Ohio doesn't com here.

 
At 9:36 AM, Blogger Napolean Bonaparte said...

Meet your new baseball coach:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Mid-American_Conference_baseball_coach_navbox

 
At 9:57 AM, Blogger Hoib said...

ATL

Do u know what happened w/ Hopkins. BB's hairdo should have been the tip off that he's not exactly w/ it!

 
At 10:21 AM, Blogger Joseph said...

Correct me if I'm wrong: Uconn is in the final four. kevin ollie is the coach, uconn has a great program to protect and continue, Ollie had zero head coaching experience, ollie had no win-loss record at all.

 
At 10:29 AM, Blogger ATL_eagle said...

Hoib:

I can't get a consistent story on Hopkins. Heard we offered and he dragged his feet so we moved on.

Heard another story that he didn't get an offer and was pretty disappointed and would have taken the job.

I tend to believe that we didn't offer.

 
At 11:03 AM, Blogger Hoib said...

ATL

Sorry to keep bugging you, but do you have a sense that we didn't offer because he couldn't commit to us long enough or because he just wasn't impressive?

 
At 11:49 AM, Blogger Knucklehead said...

The Boston Globe has an article about Wake Forest hiring Danny Manning as the HC. They have one paragraph about Walter McArty not being interviewed with a throw away sentence about BC hiring Christian. McArty says BC "is who they are."

BC mens basketball is irrelevant.

 
At 11:50 AM, Blogger Knucklehead said...

Hopefully Bob Ryan to char-broil's someone in tomorrows paper.

 
At 11:50 AM, Blogger Knucklehead said...

Hopefully Bob Ryan to char-broil's someone in tomorrows paper.

 
At 12:50 PM, Blogger blist said...

Bob Ryan is partly to blame for this mess, being GDF's enabler.

 
At 4:41 PM, Blogger eagleboston said...

This blog used to be fun. Now, it is a bundle of negativity. How can we get excited about BC sports again because, ultimately, that is why I follow this blog?

 
At 4:44 PM, Blogger Hoib said...

Eagleboston

We have a good football coach and the entire season before us. Also Frozen 4. 2 good ways to forget about Bball situation. Probably the order of importance for BB as well.

 
At 5:59 PM, Blogger Joseph said...

Hoib, maybe people read opinions and speculation here and then post on another blog that they "heard" this or that. Might help dummies like me if you say where you "heard" something. Then we could be better informed in giving credence to rumors. All these posts with "I heard" don't really carry much weight.

 
At 8:28 PM, Blogger Hoib said...

Joseph

I don't remember saying that I heard anything? Correct me if I'm wrong.

 
At 11:06 PM, Blogger chuckiedukes said...

BC did not offer Hopkins and he was disappointed. He wanted the job.

 
At 8:18 AM, Blogger Hoib said...

Chuckle


Thanks for the info, too bad.

 
At 12:45 PM, Blogger Joseph said...

Apologies ,Hoib. It was in a post from ATL to you. My dumb. All this "I heard" stuff is just so much BS.

 
At 9:01 PM, Blogger Hoib said...

Joseph

All journalism and journalistic endeavors are based on sources. You can take most credence from something like a source inside the athletic dept. who is unauthorized to speak w/ the media said. Through this entire coaching search we never heard anything like that. I take a leap of faith that ATL has done this long enough and has a big enough following that people in the know might want to communicate through him, but maybe not. At the very least for a BC sports junky like me this is all allot of fun.

 

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