Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Keeping it in the family

It is natural to turn to your alumni and long-time employees when looking to fill a critical role like AD. The hope is that familiarity makes any transition smooth and that the passion for the school guides your program to new heights. All colleges consider this during major hires. Because we are replacing an AD who never really fit in, it seems even more obvious that BC should go with "BC guy/gal" right now. I don't think BC has some sort of quirky or impenetrable culture that only an insider can understand. But I do think this time around we should strongly consider someone with real ties to BC. Our coaches and fundraisers have a credibility issue with our fan base. If one of our own takes over, some of that skepticism will die down.

Here are a few candidates with BC ties who might be considered this time around.

Jim Paquette -- Athletic Director at Loyola

If anyone could hit the ground running with fund-raising, it would be Paquette. The Providence grad already served a decade as Gene's primary fundraiser and has led a number of big projects while at Loyola. He knows the administrators. He knows the big donors. He knows what has worked and hasn't worked at BC. Paquette can be the face of the Department and will understands the BC culture. There are only two issues related to Paquette's candidacy: his association with Gene and his lack of experience running a Department with Football. The association with Gene is something he can easily talk around in the interview process. He just has to explain how his vision for BC would take the best aspects of Defilippo era yet avoid his old boss's pitfalls. In my experience, Jim is not as much of a lightning rod as Gene, so I don't think he will rub anyone the wrong way. But he also has more personality than someone like Bates. As for Football experience, while he doesn't deal with it at Loyola, he certainly dealt with it at BC. He doesn't need to have Xs & Os expertise. He just needs to set expectations for the program, get the resources the program needs and find the right coach to lead that program. 

Bottom Line: I think Paquette would be the safest hire. But in this process he needs to prove that he is the type of leader who can not just return BC to its 2000s success, but take BC to that next level.

Ed McLaughlin -- Athletic Director at Virginia Commonwealth

McLaughlin is a 1995 BC grad but has built his career away from BC. Yet every step has been a step towards a place like BC. He worked for Hockey East. He worked in the area at Merrimack. He was the AD at a Catholic school (Niagra) and has now been at a mid-major power like VCU. While he has never raised money at a Power 5 school, I think his familiarity with BC and work at private schools can help any transition. Like Paquette, McLaughlin is not at a football school. But VCU basketball comes with some of the pressure and expectation that an AD faces at a football school. 

Bottom Line: McLaughlin can sell his love and ties to BC but doesn't carry the baggage of having worked at BC. Of the people tied to the school, his fresh perspective offers the biggest upside.

Chris Iacoi --  Sr. Associate Athletic Director, Chief Financial Officer at UCLA

Iacoi is the youngest among this "family" group. He graduated from BC in 2001 and worked for the school for a dozen years. Like Paquette, Iacoi was part of the success during the 2000s. However, unlike Paquette, he has never run his own department. While he has been part of critical business decisions, marketing deals and financial operations, he has never led a major fundraising campaign.  

Bottom Line: Iacoi's rise is impressive, but he would never sniff this job if not for his BC's degrees and previous work at the school. He is a likely candidate down the road, but I don't think now is Chris's time.

Vaughn Williams -- Athletic Director at Kennesaw State

Williams also worked at BC during the first half of Gene's tenure. He played football and graduated from UMass and also has a Masters degree from BC. Between his time at BC and Kennesaw, Williams worked at UConn. I know many BC fans are not aware for Kennesaw State, but as a Georgia resident, let me tell you how impressive their rise has been. Since he's been there, KSU has started a FCS Football team and has plans to make the jump to FBS. They also have some of the most elaborate and expensive Lacrosse facilities in the southeast. Williams wasn't involved with fundraising a BC, but has done enough of it at KSU to think he could adjust to our alumni and fans.

Bottom Line: Vaughn should be interviewed. It would be a big leap from KSU to BC, but he has enough of the boxes checked to at least get a chance to sell his vision for the Athletic Department.

Current Staffers

You could make some case for many of the current Athletic Department staffers like Jaime Seguin, Steve Novak, John Kane, Jill Hegarty, and Tom Peters. Many of them are BC grads and long-time loyal staffers. However, promoting from within would send the wrong message to our frustrated fans.

Bottom Line: I don't think BC will promote from within. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Shock the system with a play for Chip Kelly

There is a lot to the Athletic Director's job and many things BC must consider in this search process. But for a moment throw that all out the window. Instead of going the predictable route, I think BC should swing for the fences. The predictable candidates will always be there. Let's think boldly for a moment. BC should offer the Athletic Director role to Chip Kelly.

Now I don't think Kelly as Addazio's boss is some sort of Dream Team. My goal in offering the AD job to Kelly now is that he can take it immediately and start planning for his eventual transition into AD and Head Football Coach. As we saw in San Francisco and Philadelphia, Kelly wants to run his own show. Any college that hires him is going to give him autonomy. Nothing will signal that autonomy more than making him AD too.

In a different era, head coaches also served as ADs. The demands of both jobs are now so consuming that is in unrealistic to do both. However, hiring Kelly as AD now allows him to build a staff and infrastructure so that when he does resume coaching duties, his full Department staff will be in place. It will be his show. His people and his approach.

Would Kelly even want this? I don't know. He seems to have a healthy ego and interested in aspects of sports and coaching that are not strictly football. Maybe it is the type of challenge he would welcome. Would he be willing to raise money and glad hand donors? I don't know, but his presence will open wallets and he can hire some people to do the calls and dinners. Would it upset Addazio to the point where he would bail on the 2017 season? I don't know, but if that comes as a result of Kelly taking over, I don't think many BC fans would worry about it.

This would be the longest of longshots, but why not. What's the worst that could happen? We've already been to the bottom of the Power 5. Landing Kelly would be a sign to the sports world that things are different at BC.

Bates officially out

The long-discussed and often rumored situation with Brad Bates is finally official. He will step down this summer when his contract ends. Per the BC release, he will go into consulting. I will have much more on this in the coming days, but Bates' tenure will go down as a failure. While he avoided scandal, his inability to adapt to the BC culture or establish a clear one of his own, his failure to raise significant money and his curious and questionable hiring decisions have led to this moment.

BC has a lot of options going forward. And while this is just officially news now, many of the candidates and players have known this was coming. It will be interesting to see who emerges. My guess is that BC will hire someone with clear ties to the school and a clear track record raising money.

Best of luck to Brad Bates. He seemed like a nice guy. Just the wrong one for this job. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Confusion at Bosco and other links

One of the most important pipelines for BC Football is in a bit of a shakeup. Last week it was announced that long-time Don Bosco Head Coach Greg Toal Sr was out at the New Jersey power. The initial announcement framed it as voluntary and a retirement. Based on this article and Toal's continued and purposeful silence, it seems like there is more to the story. Toal is promising his former players he will speak this week. Future Eagle Marcus Valdez was one of the players rallying around Toal. As for why this matters to BC...Toal is the father of two former players and has sent dozens of players from the school to BC. Having him serve as an advocate for BC has always been an asset to our New Jersey efforts.

Former WZBC guy Mike Gualtieri has a podcast and has interviewed a few BC-related people like Meter and Luke Russert.

BC Baseball is off to a bit of a rough start. Bethune-Cookman swept them this weekend. Softball lost to Drake Sunday but is off to a much better start.

The Women's Ice Hockey team finished their regular season with a win over Providence.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

BC ties Vermont again

Yesterday I wrote that BC needed another win Saturday against UVM. That didn't happen. Unfortunately the boys tied Catamonts. again.

This does not impact the Hockey East standings -- where BC remains the top seed. BC now has a series against Lowell before the Hockey East Tournament starts.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Good news, bad news for BC Hockey

After the past two weeks, BC needed a win. They didn't get one. They tied Vermont. However, it was one of those ties that felt like a loss since BC squandered a three goal lead.

The good news is that BC did clinch a bye for the first round of the Hockey East Tournament. But this will also be a different sort of Hockey East Tournament. Usually BC has some breathing room entering the postseason. Now -- according to many bracket watchers -- BC is on the bubble. BC needs to finish strong and hopefully get wins over UVM this weekend, and Lowell next weekend, plus a good Hockey East showing. I trust York. Let's hope the guys rally.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Can #decidetofly catch on like #beadude?

Prior to Signing Day, you may have noticed BC Football folks using the hashtag #decidetofly in various social media formats. BC not only had their recruits use the tag, but they also asked BC Football alumni to explain why they decided to fly and how "#decidetofly" has helped them.

Signing Day has come and gone, but #decidetofly is still around. Addazio tweeted it out again Thursday (below) as he shared the team going through offseason conditioning drills. The video is good. The message is good too. I hope it works. If BC can get "Decide to Fly" to actually catch on, it may prove more timeless than "Be a Dude" and applicable to multiple aspects of Boston College, not just Football.

Now I just need someone to explain why they are hashtaging "IRENE."

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Two BC players headed to NFL Combine and why that matters

Congratulations to Matt Milano and John Johnson. Both received invites to the NFL Combine. This doesn't guarantee that either will be drafted, but the Combine is the best place to generate interest. The guys will be facing the best of the best and get to prove the belong. While this is really about Milano and Johnson, it is also good news for BC. The school can use their success as another thing to sell to recruits. Addazio can say we develop recruits for the next level.

Does anyone remember Milano and Johnson's status as recruits? Milano was 3 star from Florida, but was ignored by the traditional powers in his own state. He did not even receive an offer from Central Florida or South Florida. His only other Power 5 offer was from Arizona. Johnson's offer list was a little better, but he was only rated as a 2 star. And as he mentioned during the bowl game, Johnson was ignored by Maryland despite playing in their backyard. As high schoolers, neither projected as future NFL stars. And although they were recruited by Spaz, most casual fans don't know that. They were part of "Addazio's first Signing Day." He can tell other recruits, "I found these guys and my staff made them better."

Milano and Johnson might not be the only success stories out of this group of BC seniors. BC will have its own Pro Day in March when others on the roster can show their stuff. Good luck to all of them.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Bowman's big night not enough against ND

Ky Bowman is an ACC player. We just need about eight more like him. He scored 29 -- including 5 3-pointers -- in BC's loss to Notre Dame. To make things that much more frustrating, two of Notre Dame's BC-connected players Bonzi Colson and Matt Farrell scored 20 and 19 respectively.

Other parts of the game that felt frustratingly familiar: BC had the lead again at half and couldn't maintain it. Chatman couldn't score. BC's bigs had trouble on D. No one else stepped up to help Bowman with the scoring burden.

After the game, Notre Dame's Mike Brey had nothing but praise for Christian and the job he is doing. But I don't care what Brey thinks or what he says. These coaches are always very forgiving and patient when it is another guy losing. Other coaches made the same sort of comments about Donahue. BC has nearly a week off before taking on Florida State next Monday. I hope Christian is productive with that time. I don't know if it will make a difference at this point.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Hockey struggles continue

BC finished lasts in the Beanpot. Let that sink in for a minute. BC is a bit at the stage where nothing can go their way. The loss to Northeastern was somewhat controversial. Cotton scored what should have been the go ahead goal late in the third, but it was called off. Following that decision, Northeastern answered to take the lead and then added one more empty net goal in the final seconds.

This was the first time that BC finished last in the Beanpot under Jerry York. Traditionally the team used this little series as the starting point for another championship run. Now York has to use a different tactic. The team has lost three straight. Some of it has been bad luck, but the team also needs more scoring. 

The team takes the ice again Friday against Vermont. I trust York will have them ready.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

John Johnson scouting and other links

After a solid Senior Bowl, John Johnson is getting more attention.

Give credit to BC basketball assistant Scott Spinelli. Even as the team looks terrible, he's still beating the bushes looking for more talent. BC is in the mix with many players from this New Jersey showcase.

If you want to get a glimpse into how the sausage is made in recruiting rankings, it will be interesting to follow Florida Running Back Deshuan Fenwick. He was an unranked and relatively unknown prospect. BC recently offered him. Now Georgia has come into the picture. Want to bet that if this once unranked junior signs with Georgia, he will have three stars at a minimum?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

BC falls into a familiar pattern and loses again

While both teams looked lost in the first 15 minutes of the game, BC was still able to establish a big lead. They were playing good defense, and although shots weren't dropping, they made some good decisions on the court. But just like the Pitt game, BC's opponent chipped away at the lead before the half and then dominated the second half. The final score was GT 65, BC 54.

BC did not shoot well in the second half, but that is only part of the story. The D got lazy in the second half. They let guys get position and also gave up too much space. There were other issues too. Why in the second half when were a desperate to score, did we find new ways to get it to Jeffers? The other two transfers (Tava and Chatman) dd not look good either.

Bowman seems to be trying to lead, but I don't know if the older guys are buying in to what he does. He had 13 points, but GT did a good job containing him and not give him good looks from outside.

I don't know what the answer is. Christian is still juggling the minutes. so maybe he is still trying to figure it out. I just want them to improve quickly so that there is hope for the future.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Bad day for Hockey

In a big upset, the BC women lost their first game since November and their first home loss since 2013. Northeastern built a 2-0 lead. BC fought back to cut it to 2-1 but never we able to get that second goal. The loss is disappointing, but the streak should be respected. It was a great run and this team will probably start another one soon.

The Men's team -- hoping to bounce back from the Beanpot -- lost 6-3 to Merrimack.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Signs of activity for Addazio's next recruiting class

As I've written before, I am not real concerned with recruiting rankings. I do find the sausage making of recruiting interesting. Where BC recruits, who BC recruits, and how BC recruits tells us about Addazio's approach. BC can't officially talk about recruiting, but the openess of social media allows us more insight into the process. For example, since Signing Day Addazio and staff has been busy offering players for the 2018 class. Look at all the players mentioning offers on Twitter below. From Twitter, it is also clear that BC wants them to share their status. BC must be providing pictures and logos to these guys since the same ones show up on tweet after tweet.

Traditionally Addazio locks in most of his class over the summer. With this current wave of activity, maybe things will fill up even faster.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Basketball loses to Pitt

Basketball's slide continues as they lost another game Wednesday...this time to Pitt. BC built an early lead but Pitt made a run to tie the game going into the half. In the second half Pitt stayed hot. BC did not.

BC needed this game. Not for postseason play or resumes. But for momentum. It was at home against another bad ACC team and we didn't respond after their run. BC's shooting faded and there was no answer. The challenge remains with the front line and with the D. If our shooters are not hot, we have no chance.

The team's next outing is against Georgia Tech on Saturday. I will be there in person. Hopefully the momentum will change.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Monday, February 06, 2017

BC bounced from Beanpot

The team came in hot, but it didn't matter once they dropped the puck. The Terriers dominated throughout and went on to a 3-1 victory.

BU controlled early and got the first goal. Meanwhile, BC couldn't muster much offense at all in the first period. It wasn't a huge surprise as BU also won the season's previous matchups. They have more top level talent right now and a little more depth. The hope was that BC would start coming together right about now.

With the loss, BC has to regroup and take on Merrimack Friday and then the Beanpot consultation game against Northeastern on Monday.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Thank you, Matt Ryan

Like most of you I am stunned and without much to say. I don't know what the future holds. Sports are funny. Windows and opportunities close unexpectedly or last longer than anyone could have planned. I hope Matt has many more chances in the coming years.

While I feel for him, I am not offering up my pity. I doubt he wants it...or cares, frankly. What I do want to offer is my thanks. I think I have watched every snap of football he has taken in college and the NFL. During that time, he has put 100% effort and determination into every play. He has also been a class act on and off the field. Football is a team sport, so one player can't do it all. However, Matt is one of those people who make everyone around him better. Thank you, Matt.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Matt Ryan is the NFL MVP

The NFL named Matt Ryan the MVP of the league. Sunday is when he can really cement his legacy, but the MVP award is certainly historic. Ryan finished ahead of Tom Brady. The New England quarterback missed the first four games of the season, but even if Brady had played, it would be hard to deny Ryan. The Falcons had the best Offense in the NFL this year and Ryan set career marks in nearly every category. He also spread the ball around so that it was more than just Julio Jones.

I didn't understand the hostility towards Ryan as he became the favorite for the award. I know I shouldn't care this much, but it often felt like because he doesn't play for one the NFL's golden franchises and because he went to BC, he was never going to be considered great by the talking heads. Fortunately, as in other sports, statistics and analytics are now overcoming "narrative."

Sunday matters more, but I am very happy for Matt. This has been a long time coming. I hope this is the first of many.

Basketball loses to Louisville

I don't have much to add to the final score of 90-67, Cardinals. Bowman played well, but Louisville has more size, speed and talent than BC. Robinson was not on, but that wasn't the sole reason BC lost.

The guys now have a few days off until they take on Pitt Wednesday.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Hockey stays hot

The Men's team held off UNH in Durham 6-4. (Goal chart below.) Let's hope they keep it up Monday night at the Garden.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

BC's recruits get some media attention

Addazio raved about AJ Dillon during his interviews Wednesday and the four star running back received the most attention in and around Signing Day. He was on ESPN and also featured in the Boston and Connecticut media.

Because of the time difference on the West Coast and an afternoon press conference out there, Addazio couldn't talk about QB Matt McDonald. His story sounds great and seems like he has real upside.

As Addazio mentioned, Tate Haynes will also be given a chance to play QB at BC.

Even though Travis Levy is already on campus, he is still getting attention from his home town paper.

It sounds like Isaiah McDuffie's dad is building a regional power in Buffalo. Probably not a bad guy to have in BC's corner.

Noah Jordan-Williams tried to talk BC into recruiting his high school teammate. Obviously Addazio and crew did not. But that sort of loyalty is refreshing.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Thoughts on Football's recruiting class

There are many, many times when I feel like Steve Addazio is full of it and the wrong guy. One area where I don't doubt him is recruiting. Wednesday was National Signing Day and Addazio was finally able to discuss his latest recruits.

While the ranking services are killing the class (calling it the worst in the ACC), the coach doesn't seem concerned. I am not concerned either. There seems to be a good mix of highly touted players and under the radar guys who can develop in the system. Here are a few other thoughts.

Addazio recruiting for depth and balance

This will be the first season where the entire roster was recruited by Addazio. This is also the point where he can have the depth chart where he wants it. Over and over in discussing this class, he emphasized that in the first few classes they were fixing holes and starting guys too early. Like last year, I expect most of this class to redshirt. So we won't even know their true value for another season or two.

He brought in three QBs in this class, plus he spoke openly of Darius Wade returning. Wade's Twitter feed indicated he was looking around. Maybe they've got him to buy in for one more season. But regardless, there is now plenty of depth and variety at the QB spot. Brown remains the favorite, but the quality around him will hopefully push him to be better.

Shifting from ACC Country to California

Addazio repeatedly mentioned going into California, especially the Catholic Schools. This is also the first year in a while where we don't have players from the heart of ACC country (Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas). You can't be everywhere at once, so it makes sense to be in places where you can sell your product to quality players. In California we are clearly different. And for such a huge population, there are fewer Power 5 programs out there recruiting certain pockets. Are we going to steal kids from USC? No. But we do have a good pitch to kids with lower level Pac 12 offers. And being so different allows us to really see if a kid is interested.

No one knows anything

I've been following BC recruiting long enough to know that predicting who will pan out is nearly impossible. The only time I get concerned about recruiting is when there is obvious coaching mismanagement (scholarship usage) or when a seemingly perfect fit turns BC down for strange reasons. When that is happening, you can't trust what is going on at Yawkey. Even after some rocky moments that is not happening with Addazio. That tells me the lockerroom still believes in him and the high school coaches do.

BC being so different from other Power 5 schools means that there is a lot of self-selecting going on with the guys we recruit. That has produced quality, committed, motivated players over the years. Let's hope that is true of this class.

BC making a big deal out of National Signing Day

One of the reasons I feel good about the Signing Day is due to all the access BC provided. Addazio and his two coordinators sat down for one-on-ones with Meter. While coaches all love their players, there is a sincerity and a level of detail that allows me to trust their evaluations. Remember a few years ago when players joked that Spaz didn't know their names. That's not a problem now. You can tell just from the interviews.

Addazio also went viral with more videos. When I was at lunch, the restaurant had ESPN on in the background and they were already playing the Addazio Saltbae things. I don't know why his videos catch on and other coaches don't but, hey, do what you can. As long as the kids like it, right?

BC also put the Addazio press conference online and had Addazio, Barry Gallup and Ricky Brown sit down for a podcast with Meter.