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.