Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Why Pat Kraft makes sense

BC hired Temple Athletic Director Patrick Kraft as its new AD. Although the media floated Kraft early, the process was quiet. A discreet search is BC’s preference under normal circumstance. Running a search during Corona and national civil unrest allowed the whole process to fly under the radar even more so. The fact that this hire was so matter of fact and predictable might be just what BC needs. The school is trying to replace a shooting star in Jarmond and facing incredible uncertainty with the future of college sports and the future of the college model itself. A low risk, solid hire is probably the right move. And Kraft’s track record only speaks to what BC needs and should emphasize in the coming years.

He is a football guy. If it wasn’t clear before COVID, it is certainly clear now that College Football is the only sport that truly matters in college athletic. The sports is critical to the operations, fundraising and marketing of any school playing in a Power 5 conference. (If that is a even healthy is another discussion entirely.) BC has a new coach that needs the full support of the Athletic Department. He needs an AD who can get him every resource he needs, fight every political battle in the conference and at the school, and work with him on everything from scheduling to recruiting. Kraft -- a former Big Ten Football player -- has hands on experience and success doing just that at Temple. Temple’s ability to get better under Matt Rhule and then maintain that success under successive coaches is a great sign. Few ADs have done that anywhere.

He is a fundraiser. We are in the middle of an Athletic Department capital campaign. It will be up to Kraft to help BC exceed its goal and then work to determine how the funds will be allocated. One of the things that Jarmond understood and embraced was the need for the AD to be the face of the program to donors and to be aggressive with the asks. Sales and relationships are a huge portion of the job. Given his track record and what others are sharing, it seems Kraft understands this. His short stint at Loyola Chicago should also give him some insight into raising money at a private Jesuit school versus a big state school.

He needs to fix basketball. BC Basketball is an embarrassment. Everyone has an opinion on why or how we got here, but we can all agree the last decade has been a waste and it is time to fix it. The only person who might not realize how pathetic it has been might be Father Leahy. Although he is a football guy, Kraft is an Indiana grad and worked at Loyola Chicago and Temple. All of those places are “basketball schools.” He understands the importance of basketball and how it can drive plenty of the attention and goodwill that football brings. A change was coming before the sports world got turned upside down. Kraft brings a new set of eyes, a fresh start, no attachment to Jim Christian. He is a new voice to tell Father Leahy: “this needs to be fixed.”

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