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 of 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.