Saturday, March 12, 2016

Globe's critique of BC hits and misses

The whispered about Boston Globe takedown of BC Sports came out Saturday night. As someone who wants the pressure turned up for this terrible year, I welcome the harsh spotlight. Leahy, Bates and the Board of Trustees are all assigned levels of blame in the article. However, the lengthy post inflates some issues, doesn't provide a clear picture of how we got here, and doesn't point to real solutions.

Race and BC Sports?

I was surprised by how much attention was paid to race in the piece. While BC does currently lack a minority head coach, the school employed two different African-American basketball coaches, an Asian-American baseball coach and has had various racial minority and homosexual staffers on teams and in the administration. While the school can always do better, I don't see the correlation between the current losing and race. Is race and Boston used against BC in recruiting basketball and football? Sure. But so is the cold. So is geography. So are dorm rooms and training tables. Race was used against BC basketball recruits when we had an African-American coach. Other schools will use whatever they can when trying to dissuade a potential student. A good coaching staff can recruit over any obstacles. It just forces them to find their niche.

The role of Leahy, the Board, Gene D and Bates

I don't expect the Globe to get into all the minutia of how we got here, but you have to question their understanding when they quote so heavily from Gene DeFilippo. He screwed things up and poisoned the well with some donors and fans, but he can't be blamed for Addazio and Christian. Those hires were during the Bates era. Both had rebuilds because of Gene's hires, but both hit shocking lows this year. I don't think great coaches would have sunk so low. I expect both to recover and return BC to some relative respectability, but both were exposed this year. They look to be mediocre at best and that goes to the man who hired them.

Brad Bates knew this article was coming and got out in front of it with an email to BC fans and donors. The email didn't reference the Globe, but it did say that he and BC weren't happy with our losing. At this point there is not much Bates can do other than support his guys and hope they succeed. If they don't, Bates won't be hiring their replacements. Bates also needs to double down on fundraising and getting the facilities built. That is where he can make a difference and that is where he has fallen short of the much maligned Gene D.

Unlike many, I don't think Leahy is major issue. He's empowers his ADs and doesn't get in the way. Could he do more? I guess, but I don't want a President who is focused on the Xs and Os of sports or breathing down the AD's neck. Leahy should be raising money and giving the programs the support they need. Where I feel he has lacked is with facilities. That has been somewhat addressed with the recent announcement but it is still late and questionable as to when this whole thing will actually get done. Leahy is nearing retirement, and his replacement will be a big issue. And that issue will fall to the Board.

I don't talk to any Board members on a regular basis, but the general reputation is that they don't care about BC Sports. I hope the recent negative attention forces them to pay more attention. If they don't realize the importance sports played in BC's past and the importance it will serve in the future, they are probably not fit to be on BC's Board.

How to fix things

Winning will fix most of BC's problems. Attendance and fund raising will improve. Morale will improve. Admissions will improve. So that leads back to Bates, Addazio and Christian. As much as I think all three are mediocre, I don't want anyone fired any time soon. It is not that I think they deserve more time, it is more about BC lacking a plan or the vision to boldly replace any of them. For now the best path -- other than a stunning turnaround -- is to hope for marginal improvement to the point where BC can make a less disruptive change. Firing Addazio or Christian now -- while still under the decision making of Bates, Leahy and the current BOT -- would probably lead to more mediocre hires tasked with another disruptive rebuild.

51 comments:

CT said...

I get the frustration. Where does the 200m improvement fit in?

mod34b said...
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lbkjj said...

Robert Kraft is on the board of trustees. He knows sports pretty well!

Napolean Bonaparte said...

I can't gain access to the story without a subscription - can somebody please paste it here? Thanks.

Napolean Bonaparte said...

I agree with you about leaving the coaches alone at the present time but Bates needs to be held accountable and should be moved out. Any AD who characterizes the importance of winning because its "developmentally meaningful" is a clueless egghead with his head in the ether. He needs to be buried in some PhD program somewhere teaching other eggheads a bunch of obvious crap wrapped in egghead terms. Get him the hell out - and get some people outside of academia who know what they are doing find a better AD.

Joseph said...

"The Globe being the Globe. Fortunately, nobody reads that rag or cares what they say."

This the absolute proof that M34b is the jerk of the first order. The globe is one on the top 5 most widely read papers in the country. Mod: Be quiet and stop proving that you are a fool.

Napolean Bonaparte said...

Hey Joseph - do you work for the Globe? And who the fuck are you to tell anybody to "be quiet" or that they are a "jerk". Its a free country shithead and people have a right to speak. If you disagree - that's fine - say so or ignore it but keep the personal attacks to yourself.

mod34b said...
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NEDofSavinHill said...

Saying the Globe is a top 5 newspaper is comparable to saying Al Jazera is a top 5 cable news channel. If few watch it has minimal impact. Saw a Globe newspaper recently after not having read it in years. Was curious to see the sports page. Every item in that days paper was a copy of what was reported on the internet the day before. Talk about yesterdays news. Feel sorry for the saps that pay for reliably false information. Most of their reporters attended Trump U. Malevolently and persistently anti Catholic.

Georgia Eagle said...

You go, Napoleon! Ned, the Globe reporters attended Trump U? Hello lol! the Boston Globe is as liberal as the N.Y. Times. Wow!

mod34b said...
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EL MIZ said...

two noteworthy things from the article:

1 - "The administration, too, has seemed lost at times. During the 2013-14 season, Donahue was four years into a six-year contract when Bates agreed to grant him a one-year extension through 2017. Then, in a reversal that struck some BC supporters as a sign of erratic leadership, Bates fired Donahue six days after the season."

notwithstanding Bates mediocrity elsewhere, WHAT IN THE HELL is this about? was this reported at the time? BC started that season 1-4 and finished 8-24. BC wasn't even over 500 in the prior year - why would we extend Donahue? completely insane to me and a fireable offense, clearly the low point of Bates' tenure. ATL - any insight into when the extension happened? it also speaks volumes about Bates's lack of conviction - felt the need to extend him Donahue [for reasons unknown] and then fires him a year later.

2 - Bates is in year 4 of a 5-year deal. easiest route for the BOT and Leahy is to let him ride out his contract in 16-17 and then let him go. i see no reason for him to be brought back, and obviously would have no problem with getting rid of him this summer and have a new AD assess Addazio and Christian for a year before deciding the best step forward.

change is clearly needed with the BOT and the school's approach to sports, that much is clear.

Hario said...

Article wasn't groundbreaking but the fact that bates tried to get out in front of it with that dopey letter means it had at least some impact.

Leahy not being part of jerry Yorks 1000th win always irked me. How could one argue he cares about Bc sports not being part of a momentous occasion for the most successful sports program in the school

Agree that two things that struck me was that bizzare Donahue contract extension...what is that about ... That looks like complete ineptness
I'm sure bates will run out his contract but he really needs to go

CT said...

Perhaps I'll read it on Good Friday. To enhance the dourness of the day.

Bravesbill said...

Herald>Globe. Sad really.

Kevin said...

People focusing on The Globe are missing the point. It seems crazy but if BC basketball had ecked out a win this season or if the had made the correct call when we had a TD taken away against Duke we wouldn't have been such a national laughingstock and the status quo would continue. The Globe didn't get everything right but they got some of it right and it will finally make the school acknowledge it.

I agree with ATL that neither of these coaches should be fired. They aren't the reason we ar struggling and we'd be worse off if we made a change. I do think that Christian would need to be a HOF coach to right this ship and sadly he isn't. I think Addazzio will be fine.

I disagree regarding Leahy. Whether or not he meddles or doesn't, he doesn't "get it" with athletics and that is reflected in decisions regarding BC's game day fan experience, to facilities, to missing York's 1000th. His indifference, or incompetence set the tone. Hopefully our next President gets it.

Napolean Bonaparte said...

Finally saw the story. On balance - thought it was well written and mostly fair. Putting aside the diversity stuff, which was overstated in terms of impact on the two programs, I'm happy the article put some extra heat on Bates, Leahy and the BOT even though there was nothing new for those who have been following the problems. I think most people reading it would reach the correct conclusion that the problem is with the administration of athletics at the school. The only gripe I have with the Globe is why they took so long and why they haven't analyzed the situation and reported on it more regularly as these problems were arising. I also think Leahy looked pretty wimpish for not granting an interview to Boston's leading paper on a major story reflecting on his performance. I'm also glad they highlighted some of the salaries - especially Bates' salary. For that money - we should have little patience.

eagleboston said...

I can't speak for today, but I do recall being shocked and stunned at the level of racism in the city of Boston when I arrived in the fall of 1985. I did not notice racism on campus, but I'm a white male so it's possible I was not aware of it. I do know that there were many articles in the paper in that era of racist incidents. I would hope that things have changed in the 30 years since I matriculated.

TGS said...

Since the PC frauds who frequent this board are so concerned with diversity (most of them are part of a generation that does not believe in hiring based upon actual qualifications), I nominate Bruce Jenner (or whatever "he" calls "himself" now), to be the next AD at BC. This will allow BC to check off multiple boxes on the diversity crowd's checklist and Jenner is a one time gold medal winner.

mod34b said...
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ccw said...

TGS, the trump rally is starting soon! Don't want to be late.

CT said...

At least baseball is turning heads. Not Linda Blair style, but more like "hey, turn your head, BC has a pretty good team" style.

Kash86 said...

This article wasn't groundbreaking as many have said, basically everything we all knew.

I think the race thing was ridiculous, and was a result of Williams being butthurt he didnt get the AD job. That guy is a moron and is just as bad as some of the people who spew their shit over twitter or on here.

Georgia Eagle said...

TGS, you nailed the hypocracy of the PC liberals who dominate this forum. They simply can't tolerate true diverse opinions. If you stray from their PC dogma you are immediately branded a racist. Get specific when you brand the BC campus, athletic department and the city of Boston racist. I'm betting they can't do it.

mod34b said...
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Georgia Eagle said...

Mod, my friend. Simply scroll back to not only this blog, but almost everyone that strays from straight sports talk. Let's not be disengenuous.
For all it's worth, I am in complete agreement with the fury and outrage over how Bates, Daz, and that dufus in charge of the basketball team have systematically dismantled a once proud sports tradition.

Knucklehead said...

Boston College. An institutionally racist university with a terrible sports program? Ask the AHANA students over the last 20 years who chose Boston College how they feel about the school, better yet ask the Campus School students about what the school has done for them or ask the international and non-tradition students in the Woods school who are given an opportunity to study at Boston College part time by Father Woods how they feel about the school. Ask Malcom Huckaby, Andre Williams, Stalin Colinet, Kiwanuka and on and on about what Boston College has helped them achieve.

The article is bullshit with regards to the issue of bias/racism. Gene D is bias and his ignorance has been documented by the Globe. Brian McGrory a Globe editor is bias and ignorant. See anecdotal examples below that can be found on the Boston Globe online archive:

I remember a Globe article regarding Gene D, about 10 years into his reign, where he flat out stated that he did know how successful and important the hockey program was to the University.

I also remember an article completely unrelated to sports written 5 years ago by Brian McGrory where he "trashed" Boston College graduates en mas for being unsuccessful, late arriving louts.

The Globe article today is a conflation of two issues, one race and the second the success of the major men's athletic programs, written by an opportunist(Sunday morning).

JBQ said...

Lee Nguyen is an assistant soccer coach who plays professionally in the MLS. He is Vietnamese and African-American. Charlie Davies is now back to playing well in the MLS. He is Caribbean and not African-American. Black does not always mean African-American. I would also like to see the comment expanded in the article under "Race and BC Sports"-----"and has various racial minority and homosexual staffers on teams and in the administration".

Paul Ryan said...

If we continue to hire AD's and coaches from mid-level conferences than we will get what we have now! It seems to me that BC is unwilling to spend the dollars necessary to hire top level personnel to manage their AD office and their high profile teams. As long as they continue in this mode of operation, the results will be typical of what we have seen over the last three years!

We (my family) have supported BC since the 1960's and saw them grow from the days of playing Holy Cross, Buffalo, Villanova, etc. to the ACC. The last six years have not been pretty and we are very frustrated.

Bravesbill said...
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Hub Gab said...

History teaches us that good football and basketball teams bring much attention to the school and did much post-Flutie to make the school into a fine university. The lingering effects of those years has disappeared as has much of the fan interest. Leahy knows this and when confronted with it has the same attitude that Rhett expressed to Scarlett: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Leahy is an egg head: a Ph.D. in history from Stanford University, an M.A. in U.S. History from St. Louis University, and a master's degree in divinity and sacred theology from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California. He is from the heartland of Nebraska and the Boston gig is fine but the sports thing is really a nuisance.

It seems few have heard that Father Leahy's goal at BC is long term neglect of the sports department. He finds it a great bother. He has instructed Bates - who by the way has been promised a five year extension - to minimize head coaching turn over and that is the reason for the contract extensions. Leahy's philosophy is based on the idea that it took him 11 years to become a Jesuit so it should take any coach 11 years to get his feet on the ground (in other words I don't want to be bothered with this more than once a decade). Except for the money it brings in as part of the ACC he would drop football and basketball. He is like the provost of the University of Chicago who told the students who complained about his decision to drop football that anytime they think of sports they should take a nap until they forget all about it.

A look at the BC board of trustees shows many (Fish, Kraft) have no connection with BC. They have little interest in BC sports or BC itself but like the idea of being on its board. That, in itself, plays much into BC's downfall in sports. Where in all the campus is there anyone in power who really considers himself a BC person and understands the history of BC sports or feels the joy and delight of seeing the teams do well like getting into the NCAA basketball March madness.

The Greek letters on the book in the center of its coat of arms translates to: "Ever to Excel" When Leahy was asked why BC is so dismal in sports in light of that exhortation he responded: "Note where the writing is! It is in a book. It has nothing to do with exercise."

Guido said...

Very well written - Hub Gab !!! Leahy does not care about sports and has no appreciation of its' value to an educational institution. QUESTION - Is there any truth to the statement made about a BATE'S EXTENSION ??? That would be a SIN !!! Thank God that I have given up my two season tickets after so many years !!! BTW , I filled out a questionnaire for BC months ago and answered truthfully - I felt that follow up with a sample of disgruntled season ticket holders would be a by product of the survey !!! Absolutely no response from Boston College. Another insult to those who took the time to answer a POORLY DESIGNED QUESTIONNAIRE !!!! And BTW , you are so correct - what the hell does Kraft and Fish care about BC - their presence on the Board just feeds their OUT OF CONTROL EGO !!!!

mod34b said...
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Georgia Eagle said...

Interesting how the southern schools are overwhelming white yet their football teams are overwhelming black. What can we make of that?

mod34b said...
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Knucklehead said...

At Laetare Sunday a couple weeks ago Father Leahy said Boston College has 200 Chinese nationals in the student body. I believe Mods numbers.

The other speaker after the mass was Tim Russerts' wife. Too bad Tim is gone. He would have stood up for the school on Meet the Press last sunday.

Things aren't the way they used to be.

Georgia Eagle said...

Wouldn't be nice if we were color blind, stopped obsessing on racial quotas and, instead, just focused on the merit system.BC should admit the very best students and the very best academically qualified student-athletes. Stanford athletics should be our target model.

Georgia Eagle said...

Wouldn't be nice if we were color blind, stopped obsessing on racial quotas and, instead, just focused on the merit system.BC should admit the very best students and the very best academically qualified student-athletes. Stanford athletics should be our target model.

Georgia Eagle said...

Wouldn't be nice if we were color blind, stopped obsessing on racial quotas and, instead, just focused on the merit system.BC should admit the very best students and the very best academically qualified student-athletes. Stanford athletics should be our target model.

mod34b said...
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Walter said...

mod34b - thank you for pointing out the potentially offensive term - I agree with you, and was surprised when I saw it. Gay or LGBT would have been a better choice.

Referring to "homosexual" staff members undermines the point Bill was trying to make - even though I don't think he meant it offensively.

CT said...

Give me a break.

Hoib said...

Nappy

Reporting in from Sunnt Spain. Seems what you've implied for a while now is confirmed in the article. The buck stops w/ Leahy. Seems to me a way has to be found to convince him it's time to step down. Anything short of that will lead to results similar to what has gone down the last 5 years. So long as he's the one making the final decisions.

Knucklehead said...

Walter.

Napolean Bonaparte said...

Hoib - Article wasn't perfect - but really much better than anything we could have expected. The front page/first section prominence was also better than expected. I don't care if Leahy retires - he just needs to be removed from the primary oversight role over athletics. Its just not something he's equipped to judge or manage. I'm sure it would be easy to find a lot of extremely good things he's done for BC over the years outside of athletics. We need an oversight board comprised of sports knowledgeable people to oversee the AD and we need to start sizing up solid AD candidates.

"This is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning!”

Enjoy Spain! Great place - hope you are near Marbella where I spent a lot of productive (or reproductive) time once.

Hoib said...

Nappy

In Madrid, a wonderful city. My instincts have been for a while the the BC people making athletic decisions don't really understand the money aspect of athletics. I think Leahy and Bates just total up the receipts from ticket sales and TV $ and net it against athletic costs. I think it's more complex than that. What would our donations be w/o athletics?. What would applicant interest be w/o athletics? If there no doubt was a Flutie effect, was it ever quantified. These are the kind of questions that need answers if you are to determine the proper amount to spend on athletics. I think this is where the BOT can be involved. A committee of the board should be created to advise and over see athletics. We can no longer have Leahy as advised by the AD making in up as he goes along.

Napolean Bonaparte said...

Hoib - agree. Madrid is great. I'll always remember taking a cab to the airport from a hotel there a block up from the Prado at 4:30 in the morning and seeing all the bars and clubs still packed with people and just starting to let out.