Friday, February 24, 2017

Hockey is in a big hole

BC Men's Hockey is in a rut. With their lost to UMass Lowell, they are not even a bubble team. They are on the outside looking in. They now need to win the Hockey East Tournament if they want to get into the NCAA Tournament.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Don't make the "AD from the outside world" mistake

The Athletic Director's job is pretty complex. An AD deals with millions in revenue. Represents the school in a partnership worth hundreds of millions (the ACC). Leads an operations team that must pull off dozens of huge events each year. The Department also must sell and raise money. Then there is the human management aspect of being in charge of staffers, coaches and hundreds of athletes. Wearing all those different hats makes things comparable to a CEO. Other colleges have recently tapped CEOs from outside the sports world to lead their Athletic Departments. I hope BC doesn't make that same mistake.

Michigan, Notre Dame and Texas have all hired non-traditional ADs recently. All looked to accomplished business types to take over their huge departments. Other smaller profile schools have done it too. In most cases the results have been bad. Even the arguable best -- Notre Dame -- has still had problems. Too often the outside CEO is not used to the bureaucracy, politics or spotlight that comes with the job. Given that BC just had an AD who didn't adjust to our internal politics, I don't want another leader who struggles with the same mistakes. Each failed AD can set back our program another three or four years as we slog through a bad hiring cycle.

Any good CEO delegates. So I am sure BC could rationalize hiring an outsider and letting him/her put more experienced college admins around in supporting roles. But even with a team of staffers, there are two areas an AD cannot delegate: hiring and firing coaches, and raising money. Even if we don't promote someone who has done it at a Power 5 level, I still want someone who has hired a coach before. And I also want someone who has raised money. Raising money is tough. You have to grovel, beg and stroke egos. Bates didn't care for it and that is part of his downfall. Our new AD cannot be so proud or stubborn. He or she is going to have to sit through the dinners, play those rounds of golf and burn up phone lines. It is not fun or glamorous, but that is the job. 

BC could have taken a risk four years ago. That time has gone. Now get someone who understands the job and is willing to embrace it. Not someone who is just learning and adapting.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Will any old candidates get a second look?

Because Bates' tenure was relatively so short, some of the candidates from our last AD search could still be in play. Let's look back at some of the more prominent names from last time around.

Boo Corrigan
The first name leaked by the media on Monday was Army AD Boo Corrigan. It makes sense. Nothing in the last four years has done anything to diminish Corrigan as a potential replacement for Bates. Army has improved their football program and Corrigan has led numerous fundraising campaigns. Four years ago some worried that Corrigan would just use BC as a stepping stone. Would anyone mind that now? Using BC as a stepping stone would require that he does well. I never heard why Corrigan wasn't picked last time. There were even reports he was getting the job. Maybe he really did have his eyes set on a bigger opportunity. Since no one has hired him away, maybe this time around he will realize that BC is his best chance at a Power 5. 

Sean Frazier
Last time around Frazier was a Senior Associate AD at Wisconsin. Now he is the AD at Northern Illinois. That progression helps his candidacy this time around. Frazier publicly acknowledged his interest last time around and did the public face saving tweet of removing his name so that he could stay at Wisconsin. Would he be willing to go down the path again with BC? However frustrating it might be, the chance to lead a Power 5 school doesn't come along every day. 

Mike Cragg
Cragg is still the No. 2 guy at Duke. His name was floated the last time around but I never heard if he ever got any real interest from BC. He was Coach K's mouthpiece for a decade, so I am sure if he wanted his name out there again, he could go to friends in the media. Since it hasn't floated this time around, maybe he is happy at Duke and wants to finish his career there.

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.