Monday, June 08, 2020

Meet Pat Kraft...sort of

Monday was a first for BC fans, as the traditional introductory press conference was moved to a zoom call. Our new Athletic Director Pat Kraft -- still in Philadelphia -- did his best to bring the right sort of energy and emotion to the event. It was awkward, but probably a better test than most press conferences because Kraft handled the predictable and the surprises with ease and did it all without being able to “read the room.”

The hot button issues of COVID and student voices related to BLM both came up, and he provided perfectly appropriate and generic answers. With COVID, he doesn’t know BC’s specific plan but will deal with it immediately. He has been part of the national football planning committee so he has a good feel for what all schools are doing and planning and thinks there will be football this fall.

With regards to student voices amidst the BLM discussion, Kraft said he thinks it is important to listen to students and for students to be heard. Does this mean anything? I don’t know, but he came off as sincere. The guy hasn’t even been on campus yet, so for him to speak with any specificity about what BC student athletes feel, what the university is doing and what the mood among the BC community is would be inappropriate.

He seemed enthused about Jeff Hafley. That is probably most important. If Hafley is going to be special and build something special, he needs an AD who will do everything he can to support him. Kraft has worked with young, first-time head coaches before. He knows what they need and how to make them better.

He says he is committed to all sports. This is going to be a hot topic everywhere as sport after sport gets cut at other schools. I will post for another time, but I think BC needs a diverse and successful sports program as part of their pitch to be an elite residential focused college.

There was no reference or mention of Jim Christian. Christian is one of the few basketball coaches around the country whose job was actually saved by the pandemic. Kraft knows this. After getting the school year off to a good start, this will be top of mind. Is Christian a lame duck? I have no idea, but it was smart for Kraft to not tip his hand in the first zoom.

Finally, Kraft addressed his desire to be at BC. This was a natural segue due to Jarmond’s short tenure. It is sort of the natural over-correction to any hire. People were upset that Jarmond left early, so it makes sense that his successor exclaims BC is his destination job. I am unconcerned. Like Jarmond, I wish Kraft a successful tenure and happy time at BC. If he is so great at his job a bigger school comes calling, that is a nice problem to have.

Press conferences are important in that they often set the mood and expectations. Because this one was so atypical it was reassuring to see Kraft roll with it and still come out ahead. Maybe that ability to adapt to new circumstances and still succeed is the biggest takeaway of the day. Best of luck to him and at this point I have every reason to think he will succeed.

No comments: